Vermont lawmakers and advocates are hard at work attempting to bring cannabis law reform in the state.
Yesterday House Bill 499 was introduced, and assigned to the House Judiciary Committee, according to The Daily Chronic. If passed, the measure would allow for the legal possession of up to two ounces of cannabis, which would be sold through state-licensed retail outlets. As with Initiative 502 in Washington, the state’s Department of Liquor Control would oversee regulations.
The measure would also explicitly legalize hemp in the state.
In addition, House Bill 500 has also been introduced, which would significantly expand the state’s medical cannabis program. If passed, this measure would alter the laws regarding caregivers to allow them to accomdate 5 patients at one time, rather than 3. It would also remove the current limit on dispensaries which ban them from having more than 1,000 patients. Finally, the measure would add post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, and insomnia to the state’s list of qualifying conditions.
These bills come while the state’s legislature is still discussing two decriminalization measures that were filed last month, H.200, and S.48. The prior would make possession of up to 2 ounces of cannabis, and the home-growing of up to 2 mature, and 7 immature plants, a simple $100 ticket, rather than the misdemeanor charge that it is currently. The latter, S.48, would take a more conservative approach, by decriminalizing up to an ounce. The measure would also make it an $100 ticket, and both bills would align possession by a minor to be analogous to a minor in possession of alcohol.
According to polling released last year, 63% in Vermont approve making cannabis possession a ticket rather than an arrestable offense.