Saturday, April 13, 2013

Vermont House Approves Marijuana Decriminalization

Activist Post

The Vermont House of Representatives approved a bill 98-44 Friday that would decriminalize possession of limited amounts of marijuana. The bill is scheduled for another House vote next week before moving forward to the Senate.

Vermont Attorney General William Sorrell and Public Safety Commissioner Keith Flynn testified in favor of the bill, and Gov. Peter Shumlin has also expressed support for such a proposal.

"Vermont is another step closer to adopting a more sensible approach to marijuana policy," said Matt Simon, a legislative analyst for the Marijuana Policy Project. "The support demonstrated by members of the House reflects that of the state's top law enforcement officials and the voters."

H. 200, introduced by Rep. Christopher Pearson (P-Burlington) with a tripartisan group of 38 co-sponsors, would remove criminal penalties for possession of up to one ounce of marijuana and replace them with a civil fine, similar to a traffic ticket. Those under age 21 would be required to undergo substance abuse screening. Under current state law, possession of up to two ounces of marijuana is a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail for a first offense and up to two years in jail for a subsequent offense.

Nearly two-thirds (63%) of Vermont voters support removing criminal penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana and replacing them with a civil fine, according to a survey conducted by Public Policy Polling in February 2012.

"A majority of Vermont voters agree that nobody should be subject to life-altering criminal penalties simply for using a substance that is objectively less harmful than alcohol," Simon said. "I think we can all agree that addressing violent and otherwise serious crimes is a better use of law enforcement officials' time and resources than arresting and prosecuting people for possessing small amounts of marijuana."

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Anonymous said...

Stick the civil fine where the sun don't shine. Just decriminalize cannabis completely, don't control it, don't tax it, just treat it like any other native plant and let it grow.

King of the Paupers said...

Jct: Isn't it nice to learn that all politicians aren't stupid?

Anonymous said...

The author misinterpreted the law. This is not decriminalization.

As stated: "would remove criminal penalties for possession of up to one ounce of marijuana and replace them with a civil fine, similar to a traffic ticket." This is still a misdemeanor crime.

Legalization is regulated and taxed.

Decriminalization is not regulated nor taxed.

This is neither, but it's at least a step in the right direction.

Anonymous said...

Hemp is GOD;s gift to man & pot is just a part of it, there both different but needed if we are to survive the RADs & other Pollution the giant corps has laid upon this earth! Learn about HEMP Please!

Anonymous said...

a plant is illegal. dopes

wishbone said...

I've always had this nasty feeling that weed will finally be decriminalised 2 hours before a total nuclear war,?! oh well, time enough for half a dozen nice big spliffs. :-)

Anonymous said...

Let's be honest. The crminalization of marijuana boils down to three issues. Namely, jobs for law enforcement/prisons, protection of Big Pharma's profits and the elimination of competition for the producers of beer/booze. This is about $$$$ and NOTHING else. Not a person alive believes that pot is harmful.

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