Cannabis has been legal for adults in Vermont to grow and possess in limited quantities since July 1, 2018, but our work in Montpelier is far from complete. Since policymakers have not yet created a legal, regulated cannabis market, Vermonters continue to miss out on the business and job opportunities, tax revenue, consumer protections, and other benefits that are already being realized in other U.S. states and Canada.
Vermont’s legislative session starts tomorrow, January 9. Please email your newly elected state legislators today and urge them to support efforts to regulate cannabis in 2019!
Now that retail stores have opened in Massachusetts, it’s clear that the political winds in Montpelier are blowing strongly in the right direction. Unfortunately, Gov. Phil Scott still has not come around in support of cannabis regulation, and we know that the prohibitionists won’t go away without a fight. Please help us finish the job and make history by contributing to support our efforts!
After you email your state legislators and make a contribution to our campaign, please share this message with your family and friends and encourage them to join the Vermont Coalition to Regulate Marijuana!
Yesterday, in his state of the state address, Gov. Peter Shumlin asked the Vermont Legislature to develop and pass a marijuana regulation bill in the 2016 session. “I will work with you,” he told legislators, “to craft the right bill that thoughtfully and carefully eliminates the era of prohibition that is currently failing us so miserably.”
This is great news, but passage of a marijuana regulation bill is far from being a done deal in Montpelier. Senate committees will begin working out the details very soon, but many legislators remain either opposed or on the fence.
If you are a Vermont resident, please contact your lawmakers and tell them you agree with Gov. Shumlin that it's time to end prohibition.
Vermont’s medical marijuana patients have finally been afforded a safe, legal option that doesn’t require the hassle of cultivating marijuana plants! As reported by The Burlington Free Press, two dispensaries have now opened their doors to patients: Vermont Patients Alliance held a “soft opening” late last week in Montpelier and Champlain Valley Dispensary opened Monday in Burlington.
The Free Press reported that both dispensaries are now open three days a week. A third dispensary has been approved and plans to locate in Brandon. A total of four dispensaries are allowed under the law MPP and our allies worked hard to pass in 2011.
These dispensaries will expand access and make life much easier for many patients. However, there is still room for improvement in Vermont’s medical marijuana law. For example, it only allows a maximum of 1,000 patients to be served by dispensaries. Additionally, patients who designate a dispensary are no longer permitted to cultivate their own plants.
State-regulated dispensaries are now open in the following seven states: NM, ME, CO, AZ, NJ, RI, and VT. State-regulated dispensaries are allowed, but have not yet been selected, in four additional states: MA, CT, NV, and DE. In the District of Columbia, dispensaries should be serving patients soon.
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.
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.