Montpelier, VT: Members of the Vermont Senate voted Thursday in favor of legislation seeking to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of cannabis.
As amended, Senate Bill 238 would replace existing criminal penalties outlawing the possession of up to one ounce of cannabis with civil sanctions, punishable by a fine and no criminal record.
Under current state law, the possession or cultivation of any amount of cannabis is a misdemeanor offense punishable by up to six months in jail.
Currently, twelve states have enacted similar versions of marijuana decriminalization – replacing criminal sanctions with the imposition of fine-only penalties for minor pot violators.
If passed, Vermont would be the first state to enact marijuana decriminalization since Nevada's legislature did so in 2001.
For more information, please contact Allen St. Pierre, NORML Executive Director, or NORML Legal Counsel Keith Stroup at (202) 483-5500. Keith Stroup's interview with Vermont Public Radio regarding SB 238 is available at: http://www.vpr.net/news_detail/79325/. Additional information on SB 238 is available from NORML’s "Take Action" Center at: http://capwiz.com/norml2/issues/alert/?alertid=10811606&type=ST.