Vermont House Backs Marijuana Decriminalization

Apr 12, 2013

Credit U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service/Wikimedia Commons Public Domain

The Vermont House has 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 speeding violation.

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.

Supporters said their main focus was to keep those found in possession of small amounts from having criminal records.

Opponents said the measure sends the wrong message to Vermont's young people.

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