Marijuana

VT House Approves Marijuana Decriminalization

Still illegal, but not so much as before

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The House voted 98-44 today to make one ounce or less of marijuana a civil offense, not criminal.

Before the vote, Rep. Tom Koch, R-Barre, told colleagues that he started out in opposition to the bill, but came around during the process as the bill was changed.

"If you had told me a month ago that I would be voting for this bill," Koch said. "… I would have looked you in the eye and told you, 'You're out of your mind.'"

The bill would make possession of an ounce or less of marijuana subject to a civil fine up to $300, something like a traffic ticket. Under Vermont law now, that amount could bring a criminal conviction subject to a $500 fine and six months in jail.