Vermont Legalized Weed. Here's What You Need to Know Before You Move There.

The ninth state to legalize recreational pot



Vermont officially became the ninth state to legalize the recreational use of cannabis yesterday, joining Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington. Gov. Phil Scott (R-Vt.) signed H. 511 into law back in January, saying: "I personally believe that what adults do behind closed doors and on private property is their choice, so long as it does not negatively impact the health and safety of others, especially children."

This is the first time a state has legalized pot via a bill in the legislature rather than a ballot initiative. Paul Armentano, deputy director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, has praised Vermont's governor and lawmakers for "responding to the will of the voters, rather than choosing to ignore them."

As in the other eight states (and the District of Columbia) that have decided to allow recreational weed, Vermont has enacted some very specific regulations for the newly legal substance. Not all the rules are clear yet, but here are some things Vermonters can be sure of:


Vermonters can posses up to one ounce of cannabis and two mature plants. The substance is not eligible for sale.


Pot is only for adults aged 21 or older. There will be strict penalties for selling to minors.

Where and when?

Consumption is allowed on private property but is expressly prohibited in public. Schools, employers, municipalities, and landlords are allowed to put their own restrictions into place. There is also a note against smoking at Lake Champlain, as it is currently considered to be federal waters.

Vermonters are also prohibited from operating motor vehicles while under the influence, especially when a child is present. Both the driver and the passengers are prohibited from smoking inside of a vehicle.

There are strict penalties for possessing cannabis on school grounds.

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  1. You left out:

    It’s Vermont.

    1. If you don’t actually need to do anything productive, VT is a pretty nice place to be.

  2. Understand no state has the power to legalize weed. They just stop prosecuting you under state law. But as long as weed is banned under federal law, there is nothing to stop the feds from prosecuting you for possessing it or selling it. So, it is not “legal” in any sense of the word. Anywhere in the US, you are at the mercy of the feds anytime you possess or sell weed.

    1. it is not “legal” in any sense of the word

      Well, it’s not not-illegal anyway. And of course federal drug laws that don’t involve interstate or international stuff should be considered obviously unconstitutional by anyone who has read the constitution.

      1. No, the magic of Wickard allows the feds to dispense of that stuff. They could arrest and charge you for mere possession of the stuff. They usually don’t but they can.

        1. Oh, I know they can. I’m just being silly and imagining that laws have actual meanings and aren’t just whatever a bunch of lawyers make up.

      2. Hah. You’ve missed the first stop on that train.

        The constitution doesn’t authorise Congress to ban drugs. The entire Controlled Substances Act is unconstitutional.

    2. It’s legal under state law.

    3. You’ve got it backwards. No state – not even the Federal government – can make something legal. The default state *for everything* is legal.

      All a state can do is make something illegal. And then stop making it illegal.

      1. Disillegalization isn’t just stupider sounding, its also more accurate.

  3. Of course. You can magically have it appear in your house, but you cannot buy it, sell it, process it.
    I call bullshit. It is not legal in any real sense.
    Does not apply to employees, renters, anyone not capable of in house gardening. What percentage of the population is actually able to take advantage of the kabuki?

    1. You are right, in a lot of ways. But it does make it de facto legal in many ways. People are going to grow it and sell or give it away to people they know, and no one is going to get in trouble for doing that on a small scale.

      But honestly, in the current climate I prefer this kind of “legalization” to the kind where the state takes a big role in taxing and controlling it. Still, the limited scope does still leave a lot of people exposed to prosecution if police are so inclined.

      What I’d like to see is people allowed to grow it, sell it, give it away or posses it in any quantity. Ideally people could have retail sales and all that, but the state is bound to fuck that up, so I’d vote for what I said in the first sentence of this paragraph.

      1. I would much prefer that the State NOT tax and regulate it to a fair-thee-well. A) The State already gets its grubby paws on entirely too much money. B) I thought the idea was to kill the black market; that ain’t the way.

  4. Don’t sell it: There is no legal commercial market for marijuana


    1. Don’t smoke on the beach, in a park, on the sidewalk or any other public place: In the law, marijuana use is limited to “individual dwellings.”


    2. They wanted to ensure that they didn’t put the drug gangs/carrels out of business. Then they might need less cops and prison guards. Also, they have less incentive to pull people over for minor infractions if they can’t potentially get a few drug bust out of those fishing expeditions.

      1. The irony is, with such a regime, which amounts to limited private possession only, you might well have more bureaucracy enforcing the restrictive scope of this “legalization”, with more cost to the taxpayer, and even more intrusion albeit in different ways.

        When you analyze all the ways in which such a scheme can be exploited by those with their snouts in the trough, well, it’s not really a boon for liberty, is it? Which goes to the argument that many so-called libertarians, especially of the Leftist variety (I see you there), mistake simple rollbacks of such laws as significant steps towards a more free society. It ain’t. It’s just control applied differently, and often more pervasively.

        1. you might well have more bureaucracy enforcing the restrictive scope of this “legalization”

          That’s certainly the case in places with heavily regulated and taxed commercial sales. But I’m not sure how that would be the case here. Looks to me like there are just a few fewer things you can be arrested and criminally charged for. Not really legalization, but seems like a step in a good direction without a lot of extra meddling beyond what already existed.

          1. Well what I mean is that when the state conducts a regime that seeks to manage an activity it inevitably results in a whole network of agencies, both governmental and NGO, that are involved in everything from regulatory oversight and enforcement to health and education.

            See, there’s no reason to believe the enforcement of the new regime is any less costly in dollar terms than the old regime after everything is taken into account. Look at how alcohol or tobacco is administered and how much health programs, subsidies, etc. cost. It’s possible it’s more expensive.

            I’m for a full-blown free market in drugs–all drugs–only restricting it for minors, but my point is, as I said: it’s just control applied differently, and often more pervasively. That being the case, the state has not been shrunk or its power diminished.

            I also understand that many libertarians are only of the social variety and actively support the regulatory power of the state.

  5. Sounds like it will still be highly restricted if it cannot be sold, and cannot be used in public.

    Guess it’s better than nothing.

    1. Exactly like sexual intercourse.

  6. It’s really cold.

    1. Also, it’s Vermont and you can only take so much hippie for so long

      1. Oh, it’s more rich people from New York than hippy anyway. That and weirdly hostile local townie types.

  7. So basically nothing has changed except if you get caught with a joint you won’t be arrested.

    1. I don’t think that even changed in VT. But you can have a few plants. Which is significant, I think.

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