Legislature passes medical marijuana bill with legalization study


Lawmakers agreed to a medical marijuana dispensary bill that includes a study of legalizing and taxing pot.

The Senate on Wednesday voted to concur with House changes to S.247. It now heads to Gov. Peter Shumlin's desk for his signature.

The bill eliminates the cap on the number of patients allowed to use medical marijuana dispensaries, among other measures.

The House nixed the Senate's approval of two additional dispensaries but agreed not to include post-traumatic stress disorder on the list of qualifying conditions for buying medical marijuana. The bill instead calls for a study of PTSD symptom treatment.

Shumlin praised the idea of studying legalization and taxation of marijuana.

"I think it does make sense for the Legislature to ask 'If we were to go down this route, what would the implications be? What would the revenue impacts be?" Shumlin said at an unrelated news conference on Wednesday. He said he is glad that Washington and Colorado have gone first.

Marijuana legalization advocates also praised the bill.

"We're pleased to see legislators are beginning to explore the possible benefits of regulating and taxing marijuana similarly to alcohol," said Matt Simon, New England political director for the Marijuana Policy Project, in an emailed statement.


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