Cannabis in Vermont

Cannabis in Vermont as of July 2015 is legal for medical usage, and decriminalized but not legal for recreational usage.


Prohibition (1915)

As part of a larger trend of restricting marijuana in the early 20th century, Vermont banned the drug in 1915.[1]

Medical marijuana (2004)

On May 19, 2004, Vermont legalized medical marijuana when Governor James Douglas announced he would allow Senate Bill 76 to pass without his signature.[2] The law was further expanded in June 2007 when Senate Bill 7 passed without Governor Douglas' signature once again.[3]

Decriminalization (2013)

On June 6, 2013, Governor Peter Shumlin signed HB200 which decriminalized the possession of 1 ounce or less to a civil infraction.[4]

Legalization attempts (2014– )

Vermont has taken legalization plans into consideration as early as 2014, when Governor Shumlin stated his support for a tax-and-regulate system for cannabis.[5] A Rand Corporation study commissioned by the state in May 2014 and released in January 2015 stated that Vermont could gain $20 million and $75 million a year in tax revenue, but noted too that these sums would be vulnerable to either federal interference, or market competition if a neighboring state were also to legalize; in the latter case, Rand stated, "It is not clear that Vermont has any long-run comparative advantage in hosting the industry."[6]

In April 2015, as a form of political theatre, two state representatives facetiously introduced HB502, which would re-illegalize alcohol, giving it penalties equivalent to those for marijuana.[7]

In 2015, Senate Bill 95 and House bill 277 were submitted, proposing a regulated system of legal recreational cannabis sales, however neither bill passed during the 2015 legislative session.[8] Legalization advocates in the state government stated they plan to meet in November 2015 to plan to have new bills on Shumlin's desk during the 2016 legislative session, as Shumlin does not plan to seek re-election in 2016 and proponents seek to capitalize on his cannabis-positive stance before he leaves office.[5]


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