VERMONT

Is Weed Legal in Vermont?

According to Vermont marijuana laws, recreational marijuana became legal in Vermont in 2018. The Vermont marijuana bill stipulates that adults 21 and older are allowed to grow, possess, and consume cannabis.

 

Marijuana legalization in Vermont came 14 years after the state allowed qualified patients access to medical cannabis.

 

While the state became the ninth in the US to legalize marijuana for recreational use, it is still prohibited to sell recreational marijuana in Vermont. The state licenses five dispensaries for medical marijuana users. However, Vermont recreational dispensary laws may be changing under Vermont S.54, introduced in 2019. Commercial sales of marijuana would be permitted under certain circumstances if the bill receives final approval. 

 

On Dec. 17, 2018, the governor’s Marijuana Advisory Commission presented a 14-page report with recommendations such as adding a 20% excise tax to the existing 6% sales tax, establishing a Board of Control to govern the marketplace, prohibiting cannabis use in public spaces, and setting the minimum cannabis purchasing age to 21 with stricter rules for consumers 25 and younger.

 

The commission also recommended relaxing the rules for medical marijuana patients, such as removing the restriction to purchase only from designated dispensaries.

Regulation Authority

The Vermont Marijuana Registry (VMR) is responsible for issuing medical cannabis cards to Vermont patients with qualifying conditions and making sure registered dispensaries are compliant with state laws.

Purchasing Cannabis

Only registered patients and caregivers with medical marijuana cards can buy cannabis from one of the five dispensaries sanctioned by the VMR. There are no state sales or use taxes on cannabis in Vermont.

 

Currently, patients can only buy from their designated dispensary. They are limited to one chosen dispensary at a time and can only change the designation once every 90 days.

 

A patient can assign a caregiver to buy and deliver medical cannabis if the patient is unable to obtain marijuana on his or her own. If a patient chooses to cultivate cannabis, he or she cannot obtain marijuana from dispensaries.

Consuming Cannabis

Cannabis cannot be used outside of a private space or within public view. The governor’s Marijuana Advisory Commission is recommending that Vermont’s smoke-free laws extend to cannabis. Driving under the influence of marijuana carries severe penalties. First-time offenders could face up to two years in prison or a $750 fine. Those with more than four convictions could face a decade in prison and $5,000 in fines.

Possessing Cannabis

For recreational users, adults 21 and older can possess up to 1 ounce (28.35 grams) of marijuana or five grams of hashish, or grow a maximum of two mature marijuana plants or four immature marijuana plants. Less than 1 ounce (28.35 grams) of marijuana can be given to an adult 21 or older.

 

Registered medical marijuana patients and caregivers can collectively possess up to 2 ounces (56.7 grams) of marijuana, two mature marijuana plants, and seven immature cannabis plants. Patients may only transport cannabis if the product is in a locked container out of public view.

Medical Marijuana Registry

Patients with a qualifying condition may visit the Vermont Marijuana Registry, which runs the medical cannabis program.

Qualifying Conditions

  • Cachexia, or wasting syndrome
  • Cancer
  • Chronic pain
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Epilepsy, or other seizures
  • Glaucoma
  • HIV/AIDS
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Nausea
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • A condition or its treatment that results in severe, persistent, and intractable symptoms
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

Patient qualifications

To register for a card, patients need to submit a completed application to the Vermont Marijuana Registry along with the following:

  1. A valid Vermont driver’s license or Vermont ID card to establish proof of residency
  2. A digital, color photograph
  3. The name, address, date of birth, and phone number of a designated caregiver(patients younger than 18 may have up to two adults as registered caregivers)
  4. Information about the patient’s designated dispensary or whether the patient chooses to cultivate his or her own cannabis.
  5. A Qualifying Condition Verification Form completed by a healthcare professional.
  6. A $50 non-refundable fee.

Caregivers

A registered patient may assign a caregiver to help obtain, cultivate, and administer medical cannabis. Registered caregivers must be at least 21 years old and meet all eligibility requirements.

Caregiver qualifications

To obtain a medical card, caregivers must send a completed patient registry application to the VMR and fill out either a Patient Registration Packet (if the patient applying for the card is assigning a caregiver) or a Registered Caregiver Application (if a previously registered patient is assigning a caregiver.)

 

Other requirements include:

  1. A valid Vermont driver’s license or Vermont ID card to establish proof of residency
  2. A criminal background check (Applicants will be rejected if they have been convicted of a drug-related offense or a violent felony.)
  3. A $50 non-refundable fee.

Providers

Only dispensaries sanctioned by the state may sell medical cannabis, and only patients with a demonstrated medical condition and their caregivers may grow marijuana for personal use.

Reciprocity

The five state-sanctioned dispensaries will only sell cannabis to Vermont residents within the Vermont Marijuana Registry. Vermont’s program does not accommodate out-of-state patients.

Lab Testing

Medical cannabis products from registered dispensaries may be subject to testing.

Licensing for Growers, Manufacturers, Processors, Retailers etc.

It’s not yet legal to sell cannabis, but state lawmakers are working to establish marketplace rules for recreational marijuana. Meanwhile, the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food, and Markets (VAAFM) expects to implement regulations for cannabis cultivation and commercial labs by 2020.

Home Cultivation Regulations

For recreational use, adults 21 and older can grow up to two mature marijuana plants and four immature marijuana plants per dwelling unit. What’s harvested isn’t counted in the 1 ounce (28.35 grams) possession limit as long as it’s stored and secured in an indoor cultivation facility.

For medical use, a patient may cultivate marijuana in a single secured, enclosed area such as a room or a building that only the patient or caregiver can access. The VMR must have the current location of the marijuana cultivation on file.