Marijuana: Vermont Legislators Introduce Decriminalization Bill

Led by Rep. David Zuckerman (P-Burlington), 19 members of the Vermont legislature Wednesday introduced a bill that would decriminalize the possession of up to an ounce of marijuana. Under the bill, HB 150, small time possession would become a civil infraction with a maximum $100 fine.

"There is no reason an otherwise responsible adult should face the life-altering consequences of a criminal arrest for what amounts to a minor indiscretion," Zuckerman said. "This modest reform will allow our police to quickly deal with these situations so that everybody can move on to more important matters."

The move comes one day after the Vermont Alliance for Intelligent Drug Laws (VALID) issued a press release announcing that a recent poll showed majority support for decrim. According to the poll, which was commissioned by the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), 63% of respondents favored "a change in the law to provide for a $100 civil fine without jail time for those who possess an ounce or less of marijuana for personal use."

Interestingly, the poll found many Vermont voters wanted to go further: 49% of those polled said they would support "making marijuana legal for adults over 21, and regulating it similarly to alcohol," while only 37% said they would oppose the idea.

"This poll supports what we've known all along," said Nancy Lynch, executive director for VALID. "Vermonters don't want to see people ensnared in our criminal justice system for possessing a small amount of marijuana, and they see decriminalizing these violations as a modest, uncontroversial solution. Our representatives should take note -- passing this bill quickly is not only responsible; it's politically popular."

If the bill passes, Vermont would become the 13th state to decriminalize small time marijuana possession. But that doesn't appear likely. Rep. Bill Lippert (D-Hinesburg), head of the House Judiciary Committee, told the Burlington Free Press his panel has other priorities.

Even Zuckerman conceded the bill faces long odds. "The wheels are not greased on this," he said.

Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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are there other decrim bills

are there other decrim bills filed at the moment that we're waiting on, other than in new hampshire and vermont?

I thought they were smarter in Vermont...

But Zuckerman is playing the game the way THEY like it. Not the way I and most people who use it would like it... Any level of regulation by the state of the people's use of psychotropics is a fascistic, drug-cartel and Wall Street serving measure. If you have not done so yet, read Catherine Austin Fitts' many papers on the real deal behind prohibition in her www.solari.com

Decrim...but give us your money?

What is so difficult about simply decriminalizing it? No fines. No confiscation. No arrests. Treat it like tomatoes.

Exactly whose State is it anyway?

I completely agree

I've suggested similar over the years, only I usually use other herbs as a comparison -- basil, oregano, thyme, etc.

I'm pro-choice on EVERYTHING!

Out of balance

When you face more prison time for growing over a hundred plants then you would for planning to rob banks with weapons and shoot poeple to get away there is something wrong. If you have a 100 plants or 100kilos of cocaine you face the same sentencing guidelines. What do you think about that?

Support those trying to keep you out of jail

Get all over these people! Call them on the phone write them letters. Get your peeps together and show up at town hall meetings. It's HIGH time we get in these peoples faces. We ARE the majority!

Peace, Love and Cannabis

Legalize it...

... and leave me alone!

Have any of these legislators heard about the Great Bank Heist on Wall Street? Seems to have been going on for a few years now and hardly a peep from these blowhards.

If marijuana were leagalized so that a person could grow however much they feel they need or want I wonder what would happen to criminal gangs that grow it in our national forests? Or the drug law enforcers? Or the sanctimonious gasbags who still think its the weed with its roots in hell and a sure path to permanent insanity?

Read Thomas Szasz book "Ceremonial Chemistry: the Ritual Persecution of Drugs, Addicts, and Pushers". I read it many years ago and it opened my eyes to the insanity that poses as government.

We must have the wisdom to

We must have the wisdom to know what we have power over, large national/ international banks are not within the jurisdiction of our great but very small and limited state government.

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