Vermont Governor Creating Commission for Cannabis Legalization

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — Vermont Gov. Phil Scott says he’s organizing a commission to study issues related to the legalization of marijuana and will announce members in the next few days.

As Vermont Public Radio reports, retail outlets in Maine and Massachusetts will begin selling legal recreational marijuana in less than a year. The Republican governor says he wants the new commission to help answer questions about the arrival of legalized marijuana in neighboring states, especially concerning highway safety.

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Scott says he wants to have more stringent highway safety standards in place before he’ll consider state-sanctioned recreational marijuana sales.

Earlier this year, Scott vetoed legislation that would have legalized possession of marijuana for Vermont residents. A compromise measure he negotiated was later blocked by state House Republicans in June.

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Meanwhile, at least two applicants have filed for a medical marijuana dispensary and cultivation license in Bennington, Vermont.

The Bennington Banner reports that the applications came in after legislators approved a fifth license for the state in June. Lindsey Wells, who works for the registry program, says most of the interest is in Bennington as it has a larger underserved population.

Town Manager Stuart Hurd says he has been contacted by Vermont Green Grow and a doctor’s group from the Burlington area.

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Wells says the applicants will be judged on the safety of the community, health needs of registered patients and their business plan. Public Safety Commissioner Thomas Anderson makes the final decision.

The owner will also be allowed to create a satellite retail operation under the legislation.

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