Vermont Just Became the First State To Legalize Pot Through Its Legislature

People 21 and over may grow and consume small amounts, but they still can’t sell it.

A man rolls a joint.Mark Allen Johnson/ZUMA Press

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The state of Vermont legalized the recreational use of marijuana on Monday, making it the ninth state to do so, and the first since Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced changes to the Department of Justice’s approach to prosecuting marijuana cases in states where the drug is legal. But Vermont’s move to legalize pot made history in another way: It was the first state to legalize the drug through its legislature, instead of by ballot initiative.

The bill signed into law Monday by Gov. Phil Scott, a Republican, decriminalizes possession of up to an ounce of marijuana and private consumption by adults 21 and older. “This is a significant signal to other legislative bodies around the country that legislatures can act in the interest of the general population without some of the fear that there will be electoral retribution,” Lt. Gov. David Zuckerman, a Democrat, noted in an interview with the Huffington Post. Justin Strekal, political director for the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, talked up the fact that the bill had made it past a Republican governor. “It’s truly a bipartisan effort, and at the end of the day, opposition to prohibition is a bipartisan issue,” he told Rolling Stone.

California recently became the sixth state to begin licensing businesses to sell marijuana for recreational use. Vermont’s new law stops short of legalizing pot sales, however. Gov. Scott said he would not sign a law to establish a legal marijuana market until the legislature addressed questions about driver safety and the prevention of marijuana consumption by children and young adults.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

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Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

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Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

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