We’re getting mixed messages out of Vermont since Governor Scott approved expansion to the state’s medical cannabis program only weeks after vetoing a bill to legalize recreational weed.
On Monday, June 12, Republican Gov. Phil Scott signed a bill that would create another dispensary license and add Crohn’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and PTSD to the list of qualifying conditions for medical cannabis treatment, although PTSD patients will be required to undergo psychiatric treatment as well. Additionally, the new licenses will allow each dispensary to operate two locations instead of just one. The new law goes into effect on Saturday, July 1.
This is the first time the Vermont medical cannabis program has been expanded since its inception in 2004. Until now, cannabis could only be prescribed to patients suffering from cancer, HIV, multiple sclerosis, and glaucoma.
Bernie Barrier, of Vermont Green Grow, commended Governor Scott for signing the bill. “I feel it’s a good step forward,” he said. “I know that medical cannabis may not be for everybody, but I feel that the choice to say yes or no to it should be for everybody.”
This expansion comes as a bit of a surprise, considering just three weeks ago, Gov. Scott vetoed a bill to completely legalize cannabis in the Green Mountain State. Had it passed, Vermont would have been the ninth state to legalize recreational weed, and the first state in the nation to do so by way of state legislature, as opposed to voter initiative.
Scott did mention that he wasn’t “philosophically opposed to ending the prohibition on marijuana,” and that he “really wants to get it right,” in regards to adolescent use and stoned driving. On June 21, a special session will be held for lawmakers to review the recreational cannabis bill. Sen. Dick Sears, D-Bennington, is hopeful that the new bill he and his colleagues drafted will meet Gov. Scott’s requirements.