Vermont Legalized Recreational Marijuana

July 9, 2018 0 By Holly West

Vermont Recreational MarijuanaRecreational marijuana is now legal in Vermont, the ninth state to legalize it.

Vermont, which was the first state to abolish slavery, and whose legislature was the first to legalize gay marriage, also has the first recreational marijuana law to pass through a legislative vote, not a ballot initiative. The bill, H.511, goes into effect on July 1st, 2018, making it legal for adults over age 21 to possess up to one ounce of marijuana or five grams of hashish, two mature marijuana plants, and four immature plants.

The new law went into effect Sunday July 1st, and does not set up a system to tax or regulate the production of marijuana. With no provisions in the law for pot shops, users must grow it themselves or buy it from illicit dealers.

Smoking marijuana is barred in public spaces, and renters need permission from their landlords to use or grow at home.

Opponents of legalization in other states have said increased use among teenagers is cause for concern. In a letter to Colorado’s governor last year, Attorney General Jeff Sessions cited a federal study showing marijuana use by young people in the state increased 20 percent since legalization in 2014. That same study continued to track use through 2016, and eventually showed a decline of 13.5 percent.

Vermont was the first state to legalize recreational marijuana through a legislative vote. It decriminalized marijuana in 2013 and legalized medical marijuana in 2004. And now in 2018, it is the first to pass the law without a ballot measure and vote of the people. This is good news, considering the Senate also just passed a bill recommending the Federal Government to remove Marijuana from the Schedule 1 classification.

The District of Columbia also has legalized recreational marijuana.

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MONTPELIER – As of July 1, Vermont removed all state penalties for adults who possess small amounts of marijuana.

Gov. Phil Scott signed Act 86 into law in January, in private, and asked the Legislature to turn its attention to “more significant issues faced by Vermonters in their daily lives.”