- 2 ounces.
- 7 plants (3 mature).
- Qualifying medical condition.
- Up to 4 state-licensed dispensaries.
< 2oz: Misdemeanor – 2 years
> 2oz: Felony – up to 15 years
< 1/2oz: Misdemeanor – 2 years
< 1/2oz:Felony – up to 30 years
< 10 plants: Felony – 3 years
> 10 plants: Felony 5 to 15 years
Medical marijuana was legalized in Vermont by Senate Bill 76 in May 2004. The law permits possession of up to two ounces of useable marijuana, as well as 7 marijuana plants (3 mature).
The initial law permitted medical marijuana to be used to treat HIV or AIDS, cancer, and Multiple Sclerosis. A 2007 amendment expanded the list of conditions.
Senate Bill 17 in 2011 amended the law to allow for the registration of up to four nonprofit marijuana dispensaries in the state. Dispensaries are limited to 28 mature plants, 98 immature plants and 28 ounces of usable marijuana. Conditional approval of the first two dispensaries occurred in September 2012. Gov Peter Shumlin’s support for decriminalization became a major issue in the 2012; however, he easily won re-election.
Patients First was approved in Waterbury and Champlain Valley Dispensary was approved on the Burlington Waterfront in a building near Main Street Landing.
House Bill 500 was introduced in 2013; it aimed to remove the 1,000-patient limit for dispensaries and increase the number of patients per caregiver from 3 to 5. Supporters of decriminalization were active, with a group of nine senators introducing S.48, which would reduce the penalty for possession of up to an ounce of marijuana to a $100 fine. Our Los Angeles marijuana defense attorneys supported a similar measure in California, which decriminalized possession of small amounts of pot in 2011. The measure was signed into law by then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.
In many cases, decriminalization can be a response to ongoing enforcement efforts by local, state and federal law enforcement. Even in states where medical marijuana has been legalized, patients, distributors and growers are too often forced to use their legal status as an affirmative defense in the wake of arrest and prosecution. In such a legal environment, experienced legal counsel is critical.Vermont Medical Marijuana News:
Vermont Lawmakers Look to Improve & Expand Medical Marijuana Law, The Daily Chronic, March 12, 2013.