Montpelier, VT: Democrat Gov. Peter Shumlin signed legislation into law eliminating criminal penalties for adults who possess personal use amounts of cannabis and/or hashish.
The new law amends penalties for the possession of up to one ounce of marijuana and/or marijuana paraphernalia by a person 21 years of age or older from a criminal misdemeanor (punishable by up to six-months in jail and a $500 fine) to a civil fine only – no arrest, no jail time, and no criminal record. The law also decriminalizes possession of less than five grams of hashish.
Vermont’s new law is similar to existing ‘decriminalization’ laws in California, Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, Nebraska, New York, Oregon, and Rhode Island, where private, non-medical possession of marijuana is treated as a civil, non-criminal offense.
Five additional states – Minnesota, Mississippi, Nevada, North Carolina, and Ohio – treat marijuana possession offenses as a fine-only misdemeanor offense.
Three states – Alaska, Colorado, and Washington – impose no criminal or civil penalty for the private possession of small amounts of marijuana.
Vermont’s new law takes effect on July 1, 2013.
For more information, please contact Erik Altieri, NORML Communications Director, at (202) 483-5500 or Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director, at: firstname.lastname@example.org.