Legal Recreational Marijuana (Cannabis) In Vermont Goes Into Effect

by Kim Boateng Posted on July 3rd, 2018

Montpelier, Vermont, USA : In January, Vermont became the ninth U.S. state to legalize recreational marijuana, but the law took effect July 1.

The law permits adults 21 and older to possess up to an ounce of cannabis, or five grams of hashish and to grow “two mature and four immature marijuana plants” on private property in a secured enclosure that’s kept out of public sight. Those plants wouldn’t count toward the one ounce possession limitation.

If you don’t own the property, you’d have to get the property owner’s permission before cultivating cannabis.

“Consumption of marijuana in a public place or in a vehicle is prohibited as is possession of an open container of marijuana in a vehicle, and violations are subject to civil penalties,” a summary of the bill text explains. There are also penalties for providing or “enabling consumption” of marijuana to individuals under 21.

The legislation doesn’t explicitly address marijuana “gifting,” which has served as a way to circumvent market restrictions in certain legal jurisdictions like the District of Columbia.

Employers are still allowed to enforce policies against consuming, cultivating or displaying marijuana in the workplace.

If an employer has a no-tolerance drug policy, employees can be fired for violating that policy even if they use cannabis outside the workplace. However, the Vermont Attorney General’s office cautioned employers when it comes to penalizing medical cannabis patients suffering from debilitating conditions in a recent guidance report:

“Under [Vermont’s Fair Employment Practices Act], it is unlawful for any employer, employment agency, or labor organization to discriminate against a “qualified individual with a disability.” Discrimination means not only intentional mistreatment of a disabled employee or applicant, but also failure to provide a reasonable accommodation to that individual… employees carrying a medical marijuana card and those dealing with substance abuse issues may be protected under VFEPA’s disability provisions.”

The new system does not provide access to cannabis seeds or products at dispensaries, as is the case in other states where recreational marijuana is legal.

The legislation does yet not detail how the production of the drug will be taxed or regulated. And because the law does not set up a system to do such for marijuana shops, users must either purchase the drug from illicit dealers or grow it themselves  – no need for a doctor’s recommendation.

Vermont becomes ninth state to legalize recreational pot. Vermont also becomes the first to end cannabis prohibition through an act of lawmakers, rather than a ballot initiative.

Medical marijuana is legal in more than two dozen states and recreational marijuana is now legal in nine states and Washington, D.C.

When Vermont Governor Phil Scott (R) signed the adult-use legalization bill, H. 511, into law on January 22, the governor said that he had “mixed feelings” about the legislation, but added that he believed “what adults do behind closed doors and on private property is their choice, so long as it does not negatively impact the health and safety of others, especially children.”

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Kim Boateng

Kim Boateng

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