In January of last year,Vermont’s governor Phil Scott signedact H. 511, which decriminalizes possession and cultivation of cannabis. The lawkicked into effect July 1, however, the state’s strategydiffers from most. There’s no legal market where they can purchase their buds. The state’s dispensaries only serve medical patients.
In a statement released after the signing, Scott said,“While this legislation decriminalizes, for adults 21 and older, personal possession of no more than 1 ounce, and cultivation of two mature plants on their private property, cannabis remains a controlled substance in Vermont and its sale is prohibited.”
Here’s what the law allows:
- Possession of up to 1 ounce of cannabis
- A grow room consisting of 2 mature cannabis plants and 4 immature ones is permissible on private property. The landlord’s explicit consent must be obtained.
- Possession of 5 grams of hashish
Access to dispensaries isn’t the only benefit that the law grants to medical patients. They’re allowed to grow an additional 3 plants and can have up to 2 ounces of cannabis flower rather than 1.
For the non-medicinal crowd, there is a gray area for purchasing cannabis. Giftings is technically allowed however, it’s putting pressure on medical patients to become suppliers to the recreational crowd. It’s unlikely that the issue will be resolved any time soon as Gov. Scott has serious reservations about a commercial market.
“There must be comprehensive and convincing plans completed in these areas before I will begin to consider the wisdom of implementing a commercial ‘tax and regulate’ system…until we have a workable plan to address each of these concerns – I will veto any additional effort along these lines,” Scott wrote.
While the issue is being hashed out among legislators, Vermont adults are stuck depending on the black market or medical patients to get their supply.
In their annual report, the Marijuana for Symptom Relief Oversight Committee asks that: “the General Assembly… consider amendments to remove any undue burdens placed on a person registered a patient that would not be required of a person who is not registered as a patient… (2)”.
Vermont’s cannabis laws aren’t perfect but they’re a huge step in the right direction. Legalization proponents are ecstatic.