On January 22, 2018, Vermont became the first state to legalize adult use marijuana through legislation rather than a ballot measure. Governor Phil Scott signed H. 511, which legalized recreational consumption, possession and home cultivation of cannabis starting July 1, 2018. The move progressed the state's liberal approach, which passed medicinal marijuana use in 2004.
Despite passing possession and cultivation laws, legislation for commercial sale and taxation of recreational cannabis has not been established – although it appears that a bill to legalize marijuana sales will be approved in the near future. With retail sales still on hold for now though, here's what you need to know about Vermont cannabis:
Adults 21 years old and older are allowed to possess up to one ounce of marijuana. Medicinal marijuana patients will continue to operate under its ruling, separate from H. 511. These patients are allowed to possess up to two ounces of usable cannabis.
Vermont marijuana laws do not allow for the commercial sales of cannabis in the state unless the person is a medical marijuana cardholder. In this case, medical patients can purchase what amounts to two ounces of marijuana products.
Despite the passing of H. 511, Vermont's cannabis program will continue to serve the state's 5,000+ medicinal patients without any interruption.
Qualifying conditions include:
- Cachexia or wasting syndrome
- Chronic pain
- Crohn's disease
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Parkinson's disease
- Patients receiving hospice care
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Severe nausea
As well as any other “life threatening, progressive and debilitating disease or medical condition or its treatment that produces severe, persistent and intractable symptoms.”
Laws limit Vermont cannabis consumption to residential homes or other's dwellings. Landlords can ban use in their units as well. Additionally, cannabis cannot be consumed at community or federal grounds, owned grounds, child care facilities or public places including hotels, restaurants and places of business.
Driving Under the Influence
Driving under the influence or while impaired remains the same as it has under alcohol consumption. No driver or passenger is allowed to consume cannabis in a vehicle, with open container fines costing the offender $200.
Licensed and legal citizens can transport up to an ounce of cannabis (two for medical patients) in a sealed container. Caregivers can transport medicinal marijuana to a patient in “a timely manner” as detailed in the state law.
Exporting cannabis across state lines remains a federal offense and is therefore strictly illegal.
Medical marijuana patients can grow up to two mature and seven immature cannabis plants. Meanwhile, Vermont cannabis cultivation is allowed for adult use at any home with the property owner’s consent.
Adults are allowed to possess two mature marijuana plants and four immature plants per house or housing unit.
The cultivator must place their plants in a secure enclosure away from public view. Furthermore, cultivated cannabis will not count against a person's one-ounce possession restriction if reasonable precautions are taken to protect the cannabis from others. Additionally, the marijuana will not count against a person's possession total if stored at its growing location.