A renewed push to end marijuana prohibition in Vermont kicked off Wednesday with a news conference at the State House.
Members of the Vermont Coalition to Regulate Marijuana, including representatives from Vermonters for Criminal Justice Reform, ACLU-VT, and the Marijuana Policy Project, said Vermont should join other New England states that are removing legal penalties for adult possession and home cultivation of small amounts of marijuana. Massachusetts and Maine are in the process of implementing voter-approved initiatives to make marijuana legal for adults and regulate it like alcohol.
Under current Vermont law, possession of up to one ounce of marijuana is a civil violation punishable by a fine of up to $200 for a first offense. Possession of one to two ounces of marijuana and cultivation of up to two marijuana plants are criminal misdemeanors punishable by a fine and up to six months in jail. In the neighboring state of Massachusetts, it is now legal for adults 21 and older to possess up to one ounce of marijuana and grow up to six marijuana plants in their homes. In Maine, possession of up to 2.5 ounces and home cultivation of up to six plants will officially become legal on January 30.
“Massachusetts, Maine, and six other states have made marijuana legal for adult use,” said Matt Simon, New England Political Director for the Marijuana Policy Project. “It makes no sense for Vermont to continue punishing adults for using a substance that is safer than alcohol. Lawmakers should move swiftly to eliminate penalties for adult possession and limited home cultivation. They can then work to implement a reasonably regulated system that will take marijuana sales out of the illicit market.”
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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.