On Sunday (July 1), Vermont officially became the ninth state with legal recreational marijuana.
The state’s legislature passed the legalization bill in January, which allows adults over 21 to carry up to an ounce of cannabis in public. It also permits people to grow up to two mature plants and four immature plants at home. If these plants yield more than an ounce, it’s legal for people to retain their yield as long as they don’t leave the house with it.
Vermont’s recreational law is the first in the country which allows for the possession of cannabis, but not the sale of it. Last year, the state’s Senate and House approved a bill which would have allowed for recreational marijuana sales, but it failed to gain support from Governor Phil Scott.
Scott has put together a commission on marijuana which is supposed to release recommendations for a recreational market by the end of 2018. For now, anyone caught selling cannabis in the state can receive up to two years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
These penalties do not apply to the state’s medical marijuana program, which currently has 5000 registered patients. Vermont’s medical marijuana law allows for up to five state-licensed dispensaries for a total of 7000 patients with a limited number of conditions. These patients are permitted to possess up to two ounces of cannabis.
There are at least two other states in the Northeast region that are considering recreational marijuana legalization this year. New Jersey Governor Phil Scott has said he’s determined to get recreational marijuana legalized in the state by the end of 2018. New York also finally completed a long-awaited report by the state’s health department last month which recommends lawmakers proceed with legalization.