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Vermont Senate passes bill to automatically expunge records and reduce penalties!

Jun 09, 2020

automatic expungement, cannabis possession, cannabis records, criminal justice reform, decriminalization, Department of Public Safety, expungement, fines, legal limits, Medical Cannabis Program, possession offenses, S. 294, VCRM, Vermont, Vermont Coalition to Regulate Marijuana, Vermont House of Representatives, Vermont Senate, VT


Contact your representatives today and urge them to pass S. 294!

Last week, the Vermont Senate passed S. 294, a bill that would require the automatic expungement of all cannabis possession offenses. The bill also includes a provision that would decriminalize possession of cannabis in amounts that are up to twice the legal limit for adults.

This important bill faces an uncertain fate in the House of Representatives. Please contact your representatives right now to ask for their support!

If S. 294 is enacted, possession of up to two ounces of cannabis, 10 grams of hashish, four mature plants, and eight immature plants would become a $100 fine for a first offense. The fine would increase to $200 for a second offense and $500 for a third offense. For adults 21 and older, possession of up to an ounce of cannabis, five grams of hashish, two mature plants, and four immature plants has been legal since July 1, 2018.

S. 294 would ensure individuals aren’t criminalized because they don’t know the legal limit or they inadvertently slightly exceed it. It would also wipe clean stigmatizing cannabis records that can make it difficult to get housing, jobs, and an education.

In other news, some legislators still aren’t sure if they want to move the medical cannabis program out of the Department of Public Safety. If you are a registered patient or caregiver, we would be very interested to hear about your experiences with the medical cannabis program. For example, was your application or renewal processed in a timely fashion? Please share your experiences with me at msimon@mpp.org.

Again, please contact your representatives and tell them to support S. 294. Then, urge your friends and family to do the same!