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Vermont Marijuana Law, Regulation, Penalties, Attornies & Congressman

Vermont Legalization

SUMMARY: Adults 21 or older in Vermont may legally possess up to one ounce of cannabis, and/or privately cultivate up to six marijuana plants (two mature and up to four immature). Those who cultivate marijuana for their own personal use may possess at home the total quantity of their harvest. The new law, H. 511, takes effect on July 1, 2018. The measure also imposes new civil penalties for consuming cannabis while driving, and imposes additional penalties for those who operate a motor vehicle impaired with a minor in the vehicle.

H. 511 does not establish a regulatory framework for the regulation of a commercial cannabis market.

Offense Penalty Incarceration   Max. Fine  

Possession

1 oz or less (first offense)* Civil Violation None $ 200
1 oz or less (second offense)* Civil Violation None $ 300
1 oz or less (subsequent offense)* Civil Violation None $ 500
1 – 2 oz (first offense) Misdemeanor 6 months $ 500
1 – 2 oz (subsequent offense) Misdemeanor 2 years $ 2,000
2 oz – 1 lb Felony 3 years $ 10,000
1 – 10 lbs Felony 5 years $ 100,000
10 lbs or more Felony 15 years $ 500,000
* By persons 21 years of age or older.
As of July 1, 2018, adult possession of up to one ounce is no longer punishable by a civil penalty.

Sale

Less than 1/2 oz Misdemeanor 2 years $ 10,000
1/2 oz – 1 lb Felony 5 years $ 100,000
1 – 50 lbs Felony 15 years $ 500,000
More than 50 lbs Felony 30 years $ 1,000,000
To a minor Felony 5 years $ 25,000

Cultivation

1 – 2 plants (first offense) Misdemeanor 6 months $ 500
1 – 2 plants (subsequent offense) Misdemeanor 2 years $ 2,000
3 – 10 plants Felony 3 years $ 10,000
11 – 25 plants Felony 5 years $ 100,000
More than 25 plants Felony 15 years $ 500,000

Hash & Concentrates

5 grams or less (first offense)* Civil Violation None $ 200
5 grams or less (subsequent offense)* Civil Violation None $ 500
more than 5 grams (first offense) Misdemeanor 6 months $ 500
more than 5 grams (subsequent offense) Misdemeanor 2 years $ 2,000
* By persons 21 years of age or older.
Penalties for hashish are similar to marijuana penalties. Please see the marijuana penalties section for further details.

Paraphernalia

Possession of paraphernalia* Civil Violation None $ 200
Sale of paraphernalia Misdemeanor 1 year $ 1,000
To a minor Misdemeanor 2 years $ 2,000
* By persons 21 years of age or older.

Vermont Laws & Penalties

Penalty Details

Possession

Possession of one ounce or less of marijuana by a person 21 years of age older, is punishable with a civil violation not a criminal offense. (As of July 1, 2018, adult possession of up to one ounce is no longer punishable by a civil penalty.)

Possession of 1 – 2 ounce is a misdemeanor punishable by a maximum sentence of 6 months imprisonment and a maximum fine of $500.*

* There is a possible deferred sentence for first-time offenders.

A subsequent conviction for possession of 1 – 2 ounce is a misdemeanor punishable by a maximum sentence of 2 years imprisonment and a maximum fine of $2,000.

Possession of 2 ounce-1 pound is a felony punishable by a maximum sentence of 3 years imprisonment and a maximum fine of $3,000.

Possession of 1 pound-10 pounds is a felony punishable by a maximum sentence of 5 years imprisonment and a maximum fine of $100,000.

Possession of more than 10 pounds is a felony punishable by a maximum sentence of 15 years imprisonment and a maximum fine of $500,000.

See

  • Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 18 § 4230 (2015)

Sale

The sale or delivery of less than 1/2 ounce is a misdemeanor punishable by a maximum sentence of 2 years imprisonment and a maximum fine of $10,000, or both.

The sale or delivery of 1/2 ounce – 1 pound is a felony punishable by a maximum sentence of 5 years imprisonment and a maximum fine of $100,000, or both.

The sale or delivery of 1 pound – 50 pounds is a felony punishable by a maximum sentence of 15 years imprisonment and a maximum fine of $500,000.

The sale or delivery of more than 50 pounds is presumed to be trafficking and is punishable by a maximum sentence of 30 years imprisonment and a maximum fine of $1,000,000.

The sale or delivery to a minor is a felony punishable by a maximum sentence of 5 years imprisonment and a maximum fine of $25,000.

See

  • Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 18 § 4230 (2015)

Cultivation

Cultivation of 1-2 plants is a misdemeanor punishable by a maximum sentence of 6 months imprisonment and a maximum fine of $500 for the first offense. A subsequent offense increases incarceration to a maximum sentence of 2 years and a maximum fine of $2000. (As of July 1, 2018, adult cultivation in private of up to six marijuana plants (two mature and up to four immature) is no longer punishable by a criminal or civil penaltiy. Those who cultivate marijuana for their own personal use may possess at home the total quantity of their harvest.)

Cultivation of 3-10 plants is a felony punishable by a maximum sentence of 3 years imprisonment and a maximum fine of $10,000.

Cultivation of 11-25 plants is a felony punishable by a maximum sentence of 5 years imprisonment and a maximum fine of $100,000.

Cultivation of more than 25 plants is a felony punishable by a maximum sentence of 15 years imprisonment and a maximum fine of $500,000.

See

  • Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 18 § 4230 (2015)

Hash & Concentrates

The law decriminalizes possession of 5 grams or less of hashish by a person 21 years of age or older. Civil fines are no more than $200 first offense, no more than $300 second offense, no more than $500 third or subsequent offense. Possession of more than 5 grams of hashish is a misdemeanor punishable by 6 months imprisonment and a maximum fine of $500 for a first offense. A subsequent offense increases incarceration to a maximum sentence of 2 years and a maximum fine of $2000.

Vermont classifies hashish and concentrates as marijuana. For more information regarding penalties associated with hashish or concentrates see the section for Vermont laws on marijuana.

See

  • Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 18 § 4201 (2015)

Paraphernalia

The possession of marijuana paraphernalia by a person 21 years of age or older is punishable by a civil fine only — no arrest, no jail time, and no criminal record. Civil fines are no more than $200 first offense, no more than $300 second offense, no more than $500 third or subsequent offense.

The sale of paraphernalia is a misdemeanor punishable by a maximum sentence of 1 year imprisonment and a maximum fine of $1,000.

The sale of paraphernalia to a minor is punishable by a maximum sentence of 2 years imprisonment and a maximum fine of $2,000.

See

  • Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 18 § 4476 (2015)
Conditional Release

The state allows conditional release or alternative or diversion sentencing for people facing their first prosecutions. Usually, conditional release lets a person opt for probation rather than trial. After successfully completing probation, the individual’s criminal record does not reflect the charge.

Drugged Driving

This state has a per se drugged driving law enacted. In their strictest form, these laws forbid drivers from operating a motor vehicle if they have a detectable level of an illicit drug or drug metabolite (i.e., compounds produced from chemical changes of a drug in the body, but not necessarily psychoactive themselves) present in their bodily fluids above a specific, state-imposed threshold.

Hemp

This state has an active hemp industry or has authorized research. Hemp is a distinct variety of the plant species cannabis sativa L. that contains minimal (less than 1%) amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the primary psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. Various parts of the plant can be utilized in the making of textiles, paper, paints, clothing, plastics, cosmetics, foodstuffs, insulation, animal feed, and other products. For more information see NORML’s Industrial Use section.

Legalization

This state has legalized marijuana for personal use.

Medical Marijuana

This state has medical marijuana laws enacted. Modern research suggests that cannabis is a valuable aid in the treatment of a wide range of clinical applications. These include pain relief, nausea, spasticity, glaucoma, and movement disorders. Marijuana is also a powerful appetite stimulant and emerging research suggests that marijuana’s medicinal properties may protect the body against some types of malignant tumors, and are neuroprotective. For more information see NORML’s Medical Marijuana section.

Vermont Drugged Driving

In Vermont, a person is guilty of DUI if he or she operates any vehicle on a highway when the person is under the influence of any drug or under the combined influence of alcohol and any drug to a degree which renders the person incapable of driving safely. Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 23, § 1201(a)(3)(a) (West 2010).

Affirmative Defense

The fact that a person charged with a violation of this section is or has been entitled to use a drug under the laws of this state shall not constitute a defense against any charge of violating this section. Id. § 1201(d).

Implied Consent

  • Absent bodily harm stemming from incident or warrant compelling sample, if the person refuses to submit to an evidentiary test it shall not be given. Id. § 1202(b).
  • If the officer’s request is reasonable and testing is refused, the person’s license or privilege to operate will be suspended for at least six months. Id. § 1202 (d)(2).
  • State is entitled, in prosecution of a motorist for criminal refusal to submit to a breath test for determining blood-alcohol content, to use evidence of the refusal without violating the general Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination. Id. § 1202(b); State v. Morale, 811 A.2d 185 (2002).

Penalties

  • First offense – fine of not more than $750, or imprisonment for not more than 2 years, or both; mandatory $160 for related DUI surcharges; license/driving privileges suspended for a period of 90 days. Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 23, §§ 1210(b),(h)-(j) (West 2010); Id. § 1206(a).
  • Second offense – fine of not more than $1,500, or imprisonment not more than 2 years, or both; at least 200 hours of community service shall be performed, or 60 consecutive hours of imprisonment; mandatory $160 for related DUI surcharges; license/driving privileges suspended for a period 18 months. Id. § 1208(a); Id. §§ 1210(c),(h)-(j).
  • Third and subsequent offense – fine of not more than $2,500, or imprisonment of not more than 5 years, or both; at least 400 hours of community service, or 100 consecutive hours of the sentence of imprisonment; mandatory $160 for related DUI surcharges; license/driving privileges suspended for life. Id. §§ 1210(d),(h)-(j); Id. § 1208(b).

Sobriety Checkpoints

Vermont allows law enforcement officials to conduct sobriety checkpoints under both the state and federal constitutions.

  • Law enforcement officials conducting sobriety checkpoint do not necessarily have to have warrant, probable cause, or even articulable, individualized suspicion of illegal activity to justify an investigatory stop of motorist. State v. Martin, 496 A.2d 442 (Vt. 1985).

Case Law

State v. Rifkin, 438 A.2d 1122 (1981) — Evidence was insufficient to support conviction for operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of drug since there was no expert testimony offered to prove that quantity allegedly consumed cannabis would have rendered defendant incapable of driving safely.

Vermont Hemp Law

Year Passed: 2013
Summary: Senate Bill 157 amends statewide regulations for the Secretary of Agriculture, Food, and Markets to license qualified growers to cultivate hemp as an agricultural crop; eliminates previous language halting the issuing of license until there is a change in federal law.
Statute: Vt. Stat. Ann. titl 6 §§ 561-566 (2014)

Vermont Medical Marijuana Laws & Conditions

QUALIFYING CONDITIONS

  • Any patient receiving hospice care
  • Cachexia or wasting syndrome
  • Cancer
  • Crohn’s disease (effective July 1, 2017)
  • Glaucoma
  • HIV or AIDS
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Parkinson’s disease (effective July 1, 2017)
  • PTSD (effective July 1, 2017)
  • Seizures
  • Severe or chronic pain
  • Severe nausea

PATIENT POSSESSION LIMITS

Two ounces of usable marijuana

HOME CULTIVATION

Yes, no more than nine marijuana plants, of which no more than two may be mature.

STATE-LICENSED DISPENSARIES ALLOWED

Yes, no more than five. A sixth dispensary may be added if/when the program includes more than 7,000 patients. Dispensaries may lawfully engage in home delivery.

STATE-LICENSED DISPENSARIES OPERATIONAL

Yes

MEDICAL MARIJUANA STATUTES

  • Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 18, §§ 4471- 4474d (2003)
  • Vt. Stat. Ann. Tit. 18, §4472(6); 4474(1),(2)(c) (2003)

CAREGIVERS

Yes, registered caregiver is a person who has agreed to undertake responsibility for managing the well-being of a registered patient with respect to the use of marijuana for symptom relief. The registered caregiver can never have been convicted of a drug-related crime. The caregiver must be 21 years of age or older. Patients may only have one registered caregiver at a time. Registered caregiver may serve only one registered patient at a time.

ESTIMATED NUMBER OF REGISTERED PATIENTS

RECIPROCITY

No

CONTACT INFORMATION

Marijuana Registry
Department of Public Safety
103 South Main Street
Waterbury, Vermont 05671
802-241-5115
http://www.safeaccessnow.org/becoming_a_patient_in_vermont

Verified Vermont Marijuana Attorney / Lawyers 

Bradley S Stetler

802-660-8646

Bradley S Stetler

Stetler, Allen & Kampmann
95 St. Paul St

Burlington, VT05401

www.criminaldefensevermont.com

Phone: 802-660-8646

Paul S Volk

802-862-8919

Paul S Volk

Blodgett, Watts & Volk
72 Hungerford Terrace

Burlington, VT 05042

www.bwvlaw.com

Phone: 802-862-8919

George H Ostler

802-649-2001

George H Ostler

DesMeules, Olmstead & Ostler
2 Beaver Meadow Rd

Norwich, VT 05055

www.doolaw.com

Phone: 802-649-2001

Vermont Congressman

Senators

Bernie Sanders (I)

VERMONT

 

NORML Grade: A+

Votes

Cosponsor

S. 1726: Marijuana Businesses Access to Banking Act of 2015
S. 134: Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2015

Comments

“Sanders said he supported medical marijuana use, and admitted to smoking pot when he was younger. He expressed some concerns about legalizing pot for recreational users, but is on board with medical uses. The war on drugs, Sanders told Time, has put a lot of non-violent offenders in jail, while not focusing enough resources on the epidemic of heroin use and other such dangerous drugs. I have real concerns about implications of the war on drugs. We have been engaged in it for decades now with a huge cost and the destruction of a whole lot of lives of people who were never involved in any violent activities.” 3/5/2014 (Link)
“”We can argue about the science and the pluses and minuses about marijuana, but everybody knows marijuana is not a killer drug like heroin,” Sanders said, to cheers from supporters. It should not be a federal crime.” 4/4/2016 (Link)
“When I was mayor of the town of Burlington [Vermont],” the Senator told Katie Couric last year, “which has a large university, and one or two of the kids were smoking marijuana, we suspect, we didn’t arrest too many people for marijuana.” But he himself doesn’t partake. In the same interview he joked about being “the only person who didn’t get high in the Sixties” before clarifying: “I smoked marijuana twice, and it didn’t quite work for me. It’s not my thing, but it is the thing of a whole lot of people.” (Link)

Patrick Leahy (D)

VERMONT

 

NORML Grade: B

Votes

Cosponsor

*S. 3269 Cannabidiol Research Expansion Act

Comments

“I have a real concern for states’ rights… I am concerned that just because marijuana is illegal under federal law, that we’re just going to ignore what states do and send law enforcement in there to enforce the federal law… I hate to see a great deal of law enforcement resources spent on things like the possession and use of marijuana when we have murder cases, armed robbery cases, things like that that go unsolved… It was also my feeling as a prosecutor. I found more important things to do… We have spent…hundreds of billions of dollars on this so called ‘war on drugs.’ Well, we’ve lost.” 1/18/2013 (Link)

 

Peter Welch (D)

VERMONT

 

NORML Grade: B+

Votes

Cosponsor

*H.R. 525 Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2015
H.R. 1940 Respect State Marijuana Laws Act of 2015