Legislative History

Recreational marijuana became legal in Vermont in 2018. Adults 21 and older are allowed to grow, possess, and consume cannabis.


Legalization comes 14 years after the state allowed qualified patients access to medical cannabis, as long as they had medical cannabis cards issued by the Vermont Department of Public Safety.


While Vermont became the ninth state in the U.S. to legalize marijuana for recreational use, the state still outlaws the sales of marijuana. The state licenses five dispensaries for medical marijuana users.


On Dec. 17, 2018, the governor’s Marijuana Advisory Commission presented a 14-page report with recommendations such as adding a 20 percent excise tax to the existing six (6) percent 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 recommends 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.

How Old Do I Need
to Be to Consume?
Possession Limit
for Flower
Possession Limit
for Concentrates

Purchasing Cannabis

Only registered patients and caregivers with medical marijuana cards can buy cannabis from one of the five dispensaries sanctioned by the VMR and are excluded from paying state sales and use taxes on the cannabis.


Currently, patients can only buy from their designated dispensary. They are limited to one chosen dispensary at a time and 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 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. Penalties for first-time offenders could mean 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 one ounce (1 oz., or 28.35 grams) of marijuana or five (5) grams of hashish, or grow a maximum of two (2) mature marijuana plants or four (4) immature marijuana plants. Less than one ounce (1 oz., or 28.35 grams) of marijuana can be gifted to an adult 21 or older.


For medical cannabis users, registered patients and caregivers can collectively possess up to two ounces (2 oz., or 56.7 grams) of marijuana, two (2) mature marijuana plants and seven (7) 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
  • 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, a patient needs to submit to the Vermont Marijuana Registry a completed application form 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. Name, address, date of birth, and phone number of a designated caregiver. A patient younger than 18 may have up to two (2) 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.


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 form 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. Applications will be rejected for a card if an applicant was convicted of a drug-related offense or a violent felony.
  3. Pay a $50 non-refundable fee.


At the moment, only dispensaries sanctioned by the state may sell medical cannabis, and only patients with a demonstrated medical condition or a caregiver may grow marijuana for personal use.


Currently, the five state-sanctioned dispensaries only give 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 (2) mature marijuana plants and four (4) immature marijuana plants per dwelling unit. What’s harvested isn’t counted in the one ounce (1 oz., or 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.


This page was last updated on January 28, 2019.