MONTPELIER, Vt. — The Vermont House on Tuesday gave those hoping to make the state the first to legalize marijuana by legislation rather than referendum a major setback.
The chamber’s antimarijuana actions included:
■ Rejecting Senate-passed language to legalize possession of up to an ounce of marijuana. The vote was 121 to 28.
■ Voting down, by a 97 to 51 vote, a measure to put the question to a nonbinding statewide referendum.
Unlike 26 states, Vermont has no form of direct petition in which voters get to decide a question other than constitutional amendments. The four states and District of Columbia that have legalized marijuana have done so by referendum.
■ Defeating ‘‘compromise’’ language promoted by leaders of the majority Democrats that stopped short of legalization but expanded decriminalization, which punishes violators with fines rather than criminal penalties.
The measure would have made it a crime to possess more than two ounces of marijuana rather than one and more than two plants. Seventy-seven members voted against it, 70 voted in favor.