That decision weighed on some Vermont legislators, who cited the federal policy change in introducing amendments that would delay implementation of the bill, according to the Burlington Free Press. But those changes were voted down.
Lawmakers in the Vermont Senate, which is poised to take up the bill next week, were similarly defiant. “Apparently, [Sessions is] more troubled by an 80-year-old using medical marijuana to treat a terminal health condition than he is by coordinating election strategy with Russians,” said Senate President Pro Tempore Tim Ashe.
Vermont legislators' decision to move forward on legalization is emblematic of the difficulties the Justice Department will face if it attempts to crack down on state-legal marijuana operations. Lawmakers in states that have already passed legalization measures tend to be fiercely protective of them, particularly when the question of federal interference arises.
Vermont's bill also differs from marijuana legalization measures passed in other states in that it doesn't set up a commercial market: Buying and selling pot would remain prohibited. With no large-scale marijuana growing and selling operations, Vermont would not offer much in the way of targets for zealous federal prosecutors.