Vermont Senate Approves Marijuana Decriminalization Bill

marijuanaVermont took another important step towards decriminalizing marijuana. The Vermont Senate overwhelmingly gave final approval to H. 200 in a voice vote.

The bill was previously approved by the House but it was amended by the Senate so it will need to return to the House for another vote.

The measure would reduce the penalties for possession of up to an ounce of marijuana. Under current law individuals could face up to six months in jail for being arrested with a small amount of marijuana. The bill would change the law so that adults age 21 and over would no longer face criminal penalties. Instead they would be subject only to civil fine. Individuals under the age of 21 would face slightly tougher penalties and be required to undergo substance abuse screening.

Gov. Peter Shumlin (D) is a strong supporter of marijuana decriminalization and has been lobbying the legislature to act on this issue. He should sign the bill into law when it gets to this desk.

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