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Vermont, like many other states at the time, banned cannabis in 1915. Since then, it has undergone a progressive shift. Now, adult-use and medical cannabis are legal in the state. Keep reading to learn more about The Green Mountain State’s specific adult-use, medical, and CBD/hemp laws.
Is Adult-Use Legal?
In June 2013, Gov. Peter Shumlin signed House Bill 200 into law. The law eliminates criminal penalties for the possession of up to an ounce of cannabis or up to 5 grams of hashish. First-time offenders must pay up to a $200 fine. A second offense gets you a $300 fine. Repeat offenders can’t be charged more than $500 per offense.
Possession between 1 and 2 ounces is a misdemeanor. It's punishable by a maximum of 6 months in jail and up to a $500 fine. The same offense will become a civil penalty starting on January 1, 2021. A subsequent offense is punishable by a maximum of 2 years in jail and up to a $2,000 fine.
Since 2014, the state has been attempting to legalize weed. Vermont doesn’t have an initiative process. Legalization efforts must go through the state legislature. Then, it must receive a governor’s signature or be veto-proof.
After many failed attempts, a bill legalizing adult personal possession of 1 ounce of cannabis was legalized in 2018. H.511 was signed by Governor Phil Scott on January 22. The bill also legalized the cultivation of two plants and four immature plants for personal use.
Growing between 3 and 10 mature plants is a felony punishable by a maximum of 3 years in jail and up to a $10,000 fine. This offense becomes a civil penalty starting on January 1, 2021.
Growing between 11 and 25 is punishable by a maximum of 5 years in jail and up to a $100,000 fine. Growing more than 25 plants is punishable by a maximum of 15 years in jail and up to a $500,000 fine.
In October 2020, Vermont became the 11th state to legalize adult-use cannabis sales. S.54* legalized the regulation and taxation of cannabis sales. Towns are able to opt in to allow commercial cannabis activity. An excise tax of 14% will be levied on retail sales. Retail sales are expected to begin in October 2022.
*A companion bill (S.234) will automatically expunge low-level cannabis convictions. It will also decriminalize modestly exceeding possession and cultivation limits.
Is Medical Use Legal?
In 2004, Vermont became the 9th state to approve medical cannabis use. Under Section 4473, to become a registered patient, “a person must be diagnosed with a debilitating medical condition by a healthcare professional.”
In 2011, the state enacted legislation to allow up to 4 dispensaries to grow and sell cannabis to a maximum of 1,000 registered patients. Currently, there are 5. The Department of Public Safety was instructed to oversee the rules and dispensaries.
In 2014, the state legislature eliminated the patient cap on dispensaries. Dispensaries could also deliver cannabis to patients. Naturopaths are allowed to qualify patients for medical cannabis use.
Medical cannabis patients are able to possess up to 2 ounces of flower at one time. They can grow 2 mature plants and 7 immature plants. Patients must pay a $50 application fee for a medical card. The card expires 1 year after the issuing date. The state does not accept out-of-state medical cards for cannabis.
What is a debilitating medical condition?
- Multiple sclerosis
- Crohn’s disease
- Parkinson’s disease
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- A disease or medical condition or its treatment that is chronic, debilitating, and produces one or more of the following intractable symptoms: cachexia or wasting syndrome, chronic pain, severe nausea, or seizures
Learn about the costs, application process, and rules associated with using medicinal cannabis in Vermont here.
Is CBD/Hemp Legal?
Hemp and CBD products derived from hemp may be legally sold in Vermont. The state does not prohibit the use of hemp-derived CBD in foods or beverages. Since 2005, the state has allowed the growing of hemp. As of May 2020, state regulators have issued 347 combined hemp grower and processor registrations for the 2020 growing season.
Vermont Cannabis College
Learn about Vermont’s state laws and cannabis careers with CTU’s online cannabis college. CTU’s affordable and renowned cannabis education program can get you up-to-speed on the state of the industry. From science to law to cooking to extraction, our program prepares you to use pot effectively or join the weed workforce.