Legislation that would legalize marijuana for those 21 and older has been passed by the House Judiciary Committee.
The committee passed the measure with an 8 to 3 vote; it’s expected to be voted on soon by the full House. The measure would allow those 21 and older to possess up to an ounce of cannabis, and grow up to two mature cannabis plants (and four immature plants).
“Today’s vote shows just how far this issue has advanced in just this past year,” said Matt Simon, New England political director for the Marijuana Policy Project. “Most Vermonters agree it makes no sense to continue punishing adults for consuming a less harmful substance than alcohol — especially now that it is legal for adults in Massachusetts and Maine. Vermonters are ready to close the book on marijuana prohibition.”
A new statewide poll finds a substantial majority of Vermont voters are in favor of the policy change proposed in H. 170. Fifty-seven percent said they support allowing adults 21 and older to possess and grow limited amounts of marijuana. Only 39% are opposed. The Public Policy Polling survey of 755 Vermont voters was conducted March 20-21 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.6%. The results are available at https://www.mpp.org/VTpoll.
H. 170, sponsored by Committee Chair Maxine Grad (D-Moretown), Vice Chair Charles Conquest (D-Wells River), and ranking Republican Rep. Tom Burditt (R-West Rutland), would eliminate Vermont’s civil penalty for possessing one ounce or less of marijuana, and it would eliminate penalties for possession of up to two mature marijuana plants and up to four immature plants. Penalties for possession of more than one ounce of marijuana would also be reduced.
The bill is expected to receive a full vote in the House of Representatives soon. If it passes, it will be considered by the Senate, which approved a measure to regulate marijuana for adult use in 2016.