Vermont’s Senate Finance Committee approved marijuana legalization on Friday, moving the issue closer to the Senate floor.
The committee settled on a 25 percent tax rate. Sen. Tim Ashe, D-Chittenden, said earlier that the committee’s task was to set a tax rate that would make marijuana cheap enough to compete with the existing black market.
The Finance committee also changed the proposed possession limit to one half an ounce. The previous version of the bill set a 1-ounce limit.
The vote comes two weeks after the bill cleared the Senate Judiciary, which focused early in the session on drafting a legalization bill.
The judiciary’s proposal stirred controversy among legal weed advocates when the senators took out the option of homegrown marijuana, pending further study by a commission created to examine marijuana issues. Sen. Dick Sears, D-Bennington, the chairman of Judiciary, said the homegrown issue was a line in the sand, and its inclusion would force him to vote against legalization.
Several other Senate committees heard testimony about the legalization issue this week as well.
This article originally appeared on the Burlington Freepress.