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Vermont House Passes Marijuana Decriminalization

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #780)
Drug War Issues

The Vermont House of Representatives Friday approved a bill that would decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana. The bill passed on a vote of 98-44.

The bill now moves to the Senate. It is supported by state Attorney General William Sorrell and Public Safety Commissioner Keith Flynn, both of whom testified for it in the House. Gov. Peter Shumlin (D) has also expressed support for decriminalization.

Introduced by Rep. Christopher Pearson (P-Burlington) with a tri-partisan group of 38 cosponsors, House Bill 200 would decriminalize the possession of up to an ounce of pot, making it only a ticketable offense, like a traffic citation. Minors under 21 would additionally have to undergo substance abuse screening.

Under current Vermont law, possession of up to two ounces is a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail, and up to two years in jail if it's not a first offense.

"Vermont is another step closer to adopting a more sensible approach to marijuana policy," said Matt Simon, a legislative analyst for the Marijuana Policy Project. "The support demonstrated by members of the House reflects that of the state's top law enforcement officials and the voters."

Marijuana is decriminalized in 17 states, including Vermont's neighbors, Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, and New York.

Permission to Reprint: This content is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license. Content of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.


TheReb (not verified)

Yeah, decriminalization is something....but its not enough. If you are willing to vote that marijuana is not a criminal offense, then just go for legalization. Decriminalization does not take care of the majority of the problem associated with prohibition. I sure hope this decriminalization mumbo jumbo doesn't slow the push for full legalization.

Mon, 04/15/2013 - 7:40pm Permalink
Bhonze (not verified)

 I Agree Reb; All your really doing is making it easier for the dealer. Like you say, Tax and Regulate to get use of the tax dollars. with Decriminalization you get what $150.00 a pop, and kids still have easy access. Legalize!

Tue, 04/16/2013 - 5:33pm Permalink
Atlanta Toker (not verified)

You cant get just a little bit pregnant. Its a full-on commitment sort of thing. You are either admitting that Yes, we were wrong and this is not a crime or not.

This is not fair to the citizens or tax payers of Vermont. There is no need for the same mass expenditures (40 years worth) of time not to mention the money be wasted or spent on issues that are no longer deemed criminal. Those are taxpayers savings that should either be returned or their taxes reduced.

Anything other than that is cheating and in doing so you have now convinced the electorate that you don't really know what in the devil you are doing. In addition to that, and at first glance, it seems that the State Government of Vermont is having a tough time dealing with a new found freedom. That in and of itself is pretty pathetic wouldn't you say?

Not being able to cope with true freedom should be a little embarrassing, wouldn't you say? I mean after all, you guys have been promoting it for a couple hundred years now. Time to put up or shut up. 

Just an FYI for all you folks about to vote on this bill, you need more buds than an ounce when making butter or tincture. You want people that would rather not smoke but choose to ingest their cannabis not be left out. More than an ounce will be needed for different cooking purposes or meals. I'm not promoting a 4 pounds bag, but something reasonable like 5 ounces.

Tue, 04/16/2013 - 11:51pm Permalink

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