Marijuana Legalization Passes Vermont House

vermont marijuana cannabis

Vermont moved one step closer to becoming the first state to legalize marijuana thru its state legislature today as the Vermont House of Representatives passed a legalization measure 74 to 68. The Vermont Senate has already passed a nearly identical legalization measure 21 to 9, making it very likely that Vermont residents will soon end criminal penalties for personal cannabis cultivation and possession. Vermont’s legalization proposal doesn’t legalize any commercial sales, but it will be a great victory for the cannabis law reform movement if passed. Good luck to the cannabis community in the Green Mountain State!

Below is a press release praising the vote by the Vermont Coalition to Regulate Marijuana.

Vermont House of Representatives Approves Proposal to Make Marijuana Legal for Adults; H. 170 Advances to Third Reading

The bipartisan measure would eliminate penalties for personal marijuana possession and cultivation by adults 21 and older — a policy change supported by 57% of Vermont voters

MONTPELIER, Vt. — The state House of Representatives approved a bill 74-68 on its second reading Tuesday evening that would make personal possession and cultivation of small amounts of marijuana legal for adults 21 and older. If the bipartisan measure is approved at a third reading, which is expected later this week, it will advance to the Senate.

H. 170, sponsored by House Judiciary Committee Chair Maxine Grad (D-Moretown), Vice Chair Charles Conquest (D-Wells River), and ranking Republican Rep. Tom Burditt (R-West Rutland), would eliminate Vermont’s civil penalty for possessing one ounce or less of marijuana, and it would eliminate penalties for possession of up to two mature marijuana plants and up to four immature plants. Penalties for possession of more than one ounce of marijuana would also be reduced.

The Senate has already agreed with the House that personal possession and cultivation should be legal for adults. On April 21, the Senate voted 21-9 to amend a House-passed bill (H. 167) to include language of a comprehensive legalization and regulation bill. That bill, which passed the Senate, mirrors the personal possession and cultivation provisions of H.170. The original House version would not take effect until January 2019, whereas the Senate-amended bill would take effect on July 1, 2017

“We applaud the House for approving this commonsense legislation and hope their colleagues in the Senate will agree that it’s time to move forward with this important reform,” said Matt Simon, New England political director for the Marijuana Policy Project. “Most Vermonters support this bill, in part because they know that marijuana is objectively less harmful than alcohol, and it’s time to start treating it that way.”

A substantial majority of Vermont voters are in favor of the policy change proposed in H. 170, according to a statewide poll released at the end of March. Fifty-seven percent said they support allowing adults 21 and older to possess and grow limited amounts of marijuana. Only 39% are opposed. The Public Policy Polling survey of 755 Vermont voters was conducted March 20-21 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.6%. The results are available at https://www.mpp.org/VTpoll.

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The Vermont Coalition to Regulate Marijuana is a broad coalition of citizens, organizations, and businesses working to end marijuana prohibition in Vermont and replace it with a system in which marijuana is regulated and taxed. For more information, visit http://www.RegulateVermont.org.

Anthony Johnson
About Anthony Johnson 153 Articles
Anthony Johnson is the director of New Approach Oregon, the Political Action Committee responsible for Oregon's Measure 91 cannabis legalization campaign and co-owner of Duff Johnson Consulting. As Chief Petitioner and co-author of Measure 91, Anthony served on the state's initial Marijuana Advisory Committee and he continues to advocate for sensible policies that decrease unnecessary arrests, protect patients' safe access, and help small businesses. With Duff Johnson Consulting, Anthony helps cannabis farmers, processors, retailers, and ancillary businesses with licensing, compliance, public relations, and marketing. DJC clients include the International Cannabis Business Conference, the Oregon Marijuana Business Conference, Cannabliss, Natural Roots, and numerous medical cannabis cultivators that provide free cannabis to patients in need.Anthony co-hosts the Let's Hash It Out podcast, available here on Weed News, at www.letshashitout.blog, Sound Cloud, iTunes, and Stitcher. Anthony's blogs on Weed News are personal and don't necessarily reflect the views of any organization or company.