Vermont Decriminalizes Marijuana

Vermont has become the latest state to decriminalize marijuana:

ESSEX JUNCTION, Vt. (AP) — Vermont has become the 17th state to get rid of criminal penalties for the possession of small amounts of marijuana.

Gov. Peter Shumlin signed a measure into law Thursday.

The law replaces criminal penalties with civil fines similar to a traffic ticket for possession of up to an ounce of marijuana or five grams of hashish.

The law also treats possession of such amounts of marijuana by people under age 21 the same as underage possession of alcohol, including referral to court diversion for a first offense, potential civil penalties and/or license suspension, and criminal penalties for a third violation.

Hopefully, this is the continuation of a trend that will continue to spread across the nation.

FILED UNDER: US Politics, , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. edmondo says:

    Does i matter if Vermont decriminalizes it if the NSA can hear you stting up the buy?

  2. Caj says:

    All states should follow suit. Wasting time and money on small possession of any drug is ridiculous. Cops need to spend their time on more meaningful arrests. The cops and the public should be more concerned over all these never ending gun deaths! Now, that is something that needs addressing but of course we have the gun obsessed like Wayne LaPierre and others who don’t want that dealt with. You just keep arresting those small time felons and don’t worry about our ‘friend’s’ out there with assault weapons shooting up anywhere and everywhere!!!

  3. Rafer Janders says:

    Meanwhile “Live Free or Die” New Hampshire continues to punish people for what they do with their own bodies….

  4. walt moffett says:

    Might want to read the bill as passed (pdf), always worrisome when the police and courts realize their budget gets a cut of the action.

  5. Safety meeting on Stowe Mountain at 4:20. BYOB.

  6. gVOR08 says:

    @Caj: Shutting down the War on Drugs would be the single best thing we could do to reduce gun violence. Not to mention the trillion dollars we’ve whizzed away on it.

  7. CSK says:

    @Rafer Janders:

    Maybe NH can change its motto to “Live Free or High.”

  8. Franklin says:

    We had a referendum in Michigan a few years back to legalize it. Didn’t really change anything, because the State Attorney General didn’t agree with it, and still finds any legal means to harass marijuana dispensaries and the like.

  9. al-Ameda says:


    Does i matter if Vermont decriminalizes it if the NSA can hear you stting up the buy?

    The NSA will dispatch federal authorities to arrest you for making a legal buy? My guess is that the Feds currently consider Vermont to be a rogue state and that they’re considering the use of drones to conduct surveillance of Vermont’s “alternative agriculture” industry.