Vermont's House Judiciary Committee voted 8-3 to approve a bill that would make personal possession and cultivation of small amounts of marijuana legal for adults. The bill, H. 170, would eliminate the state's civil penalty for possessing one ounce or less of marijuana. The bill would also eliminate the penalty for possessing up to two mature cannabis plants and up to four immature plants. Penalties for possessing over an ounce of marijuana would also be reduced.
“Today’s vote shows just how far this issue has advanced in just this past year,” said Matt Simon, New England political director for the Marijuana Policy Project. “Most Vermonters agree it makes no sense to continue punishing adults for consuming a less harmful substance than alcohol — especially now that it is legal for adults in Massachusetts and Maine. Vermonters are ready to close the book on marijuana prohibition.”
The bill will come up for a vote in the Vermont House of Representatives as soon as this Friday, and will move on to the state Senate if it passes. A new statewide poll has found that 57% of Vermont voters support allowing adults 21 and older to possess and grow limited amounts of weed. Only 39% of those polled are opposed to marijuana legalization.
"I like this bill," Republican Rep. Thomas Burditt said. "There is minimal government intervention, and when I look at some of the other states that have legalized, I look at maximum government intervention.”