- Associated Press - Thursday, September 7, 2017

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) - Vermont Gov. Phil Scott on Thursday signed an executive order establishing a Marijuana Advisory Commission that will study the best way to legalize the recreational use of marijuana in the state.

The 13-member commission will be led by former Republican lawmaker and attorney Tom Little and former Vermont Democratic Party chairman Jake Perkinson.

In announcing the formation of the commission, Scott, a Republican, who in May vetoed a marijuana legalization bill that had been passed by the Legislature, said he was not philosophically opposed to marijuana legalization

“We cannot ignore the fact that states around us have already legalized. This commission is part of a more thoughtful, deliberative process to deal with an issue that impacts all of us,” Scott said. “It’s critical that we get this right.”

Before Scott vetoed the marijuana legalization proposal Vermont was set to become the first state to legalize marijuana through legislative actions. Other states that have legalized marijuana did so through citizen referendums.

A number of other states are now considering marijuana legalization proposals.

The Vermont commission is scheduled to hold its first meeting before Oct. 1 and submit a report to the Legislature by Jan. 15.

Different subcommittees of the commission will focus on the separate issues of highway safety, education, prevention, and taxation and regulation.

The Legislature is expected to reintroduce a marijuana legalization proposal when it reconvenes in January, but it’s unclear how quickly lawmakers will be able to act.

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