Prohibition

Vermont Governor Signs Decriminalization Bill

[caption id="attachment_6405" align="alignright" width="182"]s-VERMONT-GOVERNOR-PRIMARY-PETER-SHUMLIN-large Gov. Shumlin[/caption]

This afternoon, Vermont became the 15th state to decriminalize marijuana possession (two others have made it legal). Gov. Peter Shumlin, a vocal champion of sensible marijuana policies, signed H. 200 at about 1:30 p.m.

Beginning on July 1, H. 200 will eliminate Vermont’s criminal penalties for possession of up to an ounce of marijuana and replace them with civil fines for adults and generally with diversion for those under 21. Click here for details on how H. 200 will change Vermont’s penalty structure.

[caption id="attachment_6544" align="alignleft" width="180"]William-Sorrell Attorney Gen. Sorrell[/caption]

This is a major victory for MPP and our legislative allies in Montpelier, who have worked hard to build support for this sensible reform.

The next step for Vermont policymakers will be to consider legal alternatives to the illicit market for marijuana. Attorney General William Sorrell has publicly argued in favor of decriminalizing plants, and many legislators have made the case for replacing marijuana prohibition with a taxed and regulated system.

Read more

Prohibition

Vermont Legislature Passes Decriminalization Bill!

State lawmakers g941311_10151374980931816_1029946626_nave final approval Monday to a measure that will decriminalize possession of limited amounts of marijuana in Vermont. The bill will now be transmitted to Gov. Peter Shumlin, who is expected to sign it into law in coming weeks, at which time Vermont will become the 17th state in the nation to decriminalize or legalize marijuana.

H. 200, introduced by Rep. Christopher Pearson (P-Burlington) with a tripartisan group of 38 co-sponsors, will remove criminal penalties for possession of up to one ounce of marijuana and replace them with a civil fine, similar to a traffic ticket. Those under age 21 would be required to undergo substance abuse screening. Under current state law, possession of up to two ounces of marijuana is a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail for a first offense and up to two years in jail for a subsequent offense.

The Vermont victory marks another big step toward ending marijuana prohibition in our country, but there's still a lot more work to be done. Marijuana policy reform bills have been introduced in 30 state legislatures this year, and even more are expected next year.

Read more

Prohibition

Vermont Decriminalization Bill Heads to Senate Floor

Yesterday, in a 4-1 vote, Vermont’s Senate Judiciary Committee voted to approve a bill that would reduce penalties for possessing small amounts of marijuana. Under H. 200, which has already passed the House, possession of up to an ounce of marijuana would become a civil offense punishable by a fine rather than a criminal misdemeanor.

[caption id="attachment_6364" align="alignleft" width="240"]chrispearson Rep. Christopher Pearson[/caption]

H. 200, introduced by Rep. Christopher Pearson (P-Burlington) with a tripartisan group of 38 co-sponsors, would remove criminal penalties for possession of up to one ounce of marijuana and replace them with a civil fine, similar to a traffic ticket. Those under age 21 would be required to undergo substance abuse screening. Under current state law, possession of up to two ounces of marijuana is a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail for a first offense and up to two years in jail for a subsequent offense.

Nearly two-thirds (63%) of Vermont voters support removing criminal penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana and replacing them with a civil fine, according to a survey conducted by Public Policy Polling in February 2012.

Senators will soon be voting on this bill. If you live in Vermont, click here to send them one last message of support!

Read more

Prohibition

Vermont House Passes Decriminalization Bill — On to the Senate!

Apr 16, 2013 Kate Zawidzki

H.200, House Judiciary Committee, Peter Shumlin, Vermont

After several days of discussion, the Vermont House overwhelmingly voted this afternoon in favor of H. 200, a bill that would reduce the penalty for possessing up to an ounce of marijuana to a violation, making it a civil, rather than criminal, offense.Vermont state house Ninety-two representatives voted in favor, and only 49 were opposed.

The bill will now move forward to the Senate, which has already held hearings on the issue.

If you live in Vermont, please contact your senator today and urge them to support this legislation.

As amended by the House Judiciary Committee and approved in a 9-2 vote, H. 200 would reduce the penalty for possessing up to an ounce to a fine of up to $300. With support from Gov. Peter Shumlin and top law enforcement officials, the bill appears to have a very strong chance of passing into law.

Read more

Prohibition

Vermont House Votes 98-44 In Favor of Decriminalization

Apr 12, 2013 Kate Zawidzki

H.200, Peter Shumlin, Senate Judiciary Committee, Vermont

After a lengthy discussion, the Vermont House overwhelmingly voted this afternoon in favor of H. 200, a bill that would reduce the penalty for possessing up to an ounce of marijuana to a violation, making it a civil rather than criminal offense. Ninety-eight representatives voted in favor, and only 44 were opposed.

The bill is scheduled for more discussion in the House and a final vote next week before it moves to the Senate. However, today’s vote represents a strong indication of support from the House.

As amended by the House Judiciary Committee and approved in a 9-2 vote, H. 200 would reduce the penalty for possessing up to an ounce to a fine of up to $300. The Senate Judiciary Committee has already begun considering testimony on this issue, and with support from Gov. Peter Shumlin and top law enforcement officials, the bill appears to have a very strong chance of passing into law.

Read more

Prohibition

Burlington Free Press Supports Decriminalizing Marijuana in Vermont

The Burlington Free Press, the most widely circulated newspaper in Vermont, VermontMap2editorialized in favor of a bill that would remove the threat of jail for possession of small amounts of marijuana.

The bill, known as H.200, would remove criminal penalties for possession of up to two ounces of marijuana or two mature plants for people 21 and older. The penalties would be replaced by a civil citation and a fine.

From the Free Press:

“Given the challenges facing law enforcement agencies, prosecutors and the courts, the added burden of treating minor possession as a criminal offense no longer makes sense.

Chittenden County State’s Attorney T.J. Donvan argues the current law that treats minor possession as a criminal midemeanor can leave an impact on a person’s life out of balance with the severity of the crime.

Downgrading the weight of the crime would allow police to better focus on more urgent threats to our well being even within the world of illicit drugs.

With Vermont’s prosecutors and many of the state’s law enforcement officials on board, there’s no longer sufficient reason for lawmakers to stand in the way of decriminalization.”

Read more