Drug to remain illegal, if passed
(AP) _ On Friday, April 12, the Vermont House advanced a bill
that would change the offense of possessing up to an ounce of
marijuana from a misdemeanor crime to a civil offense similar to a
On roll call vote of 98-44 the House endorsed the bill that
would impose a fine up to $300 for anyone caught with up to an
ounce of the drug. The bill also contains provisions designed to
eliminate future collateral consequences like ineligibility for
certain jobs or government benefits for those convicted of
possessing up to two ounces, or up to four plants.
Many supporters said their main focus was to keep those found in
possession of small amounts from having criminal records.
Others supported the bill seeing it as a small step toward their
real goal: legalization, regulation and taxation of
Opponents said the measure sends the wrong message to Vermont's
The legislation now goes to the Senate, which is also expected
to pass it. Gov. Peter Shumlin has said he supports
decriminalization of possession of small amounts.
Vermont would become the 16th state to decriminalized possession
of small amounts of marijuana, (Washington state and Colorado have
gone further and legalized it with restrictions.)