New Vermont Law Will Increase Access to Medical Marijuana, Further Nullify Federal Prohibition

By Shane Trejo

A Vermont bill to fully legalize medical marijuana for qualifying patients was signed into law last week by Gov. Phil Scott. The new measure takes another step toward effectively nullifying the unconstitutional federal prohibition on the same.

Introduced by Sen. Dick Sears (D-Bennington) and six co-sponsors, Senate Bill 16 (S.16) expands the existing laws on the books pertaining to medical marijuana to greatly expand access for qualifying patients. The Senate initially passed S.16 in February. An amended version was passed by the House on May 2 by a 130-16 vote. The Senate suspended the rules, and approved the  amended bill on May 10. The bill was sent back to the House, and then to Gov. Scott who signed it into law.

“I think it’ll help an awful lot of people to relieve symptoms of various ailments,” Sen. Sears said.

Patients would be able to qualify for medical marijuana if they suffered from one or more of the following ailments listed in S.16:

(A) cancer, multiple sclerosis, positive status for human immunodeficiency virus, acquired immune deficiency syndrome, glaucoma, post-traumatic stress disorder, Crohn’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, or the treatment of these conditions, if the disease or the treatment results in severe, persistent, and intractable symptoms;

(B) a disease, medical condition, or its treatment that is chronic, debilitating, and produces one or more of the following intractable symptoms: cachexia or wasting syndrome; chronic pain; severe nausea; or seizures; or

(C) other disease, condition, or treatment as determined in writing by a qualifying patient’s health care professional.

The new law will allow medical marijuana to be advertised as long as it is “not… located within 1,000 feet of a preexisting public or private school or licensed or regulated child care facility” and the advertisement makes it clear that the products are strictly for individuals aged 21-or-older. Qualifying patients will be allowed to possess up to three ounces of usable marijuana. No more than eight dispensaries will be allowed to operate at one time throughout the state of Vermont.

Despite the federal prohibition on marijuana, measures such as S.16 remain perfectly constitutional, and the feds can do little if anything to stop them in practice.


The federal Controlled Substances Act (CSA) passed in 1970 prohibits marijuana for any purpose. Of course, the federal government lacks any constitutional authority to ban or regulate marijuana within the borders of a state, despite the opinion of the politically connected lawyers on the Supreme Court. If you doubt this, ask yourself why it took a constitutional amendment to institute federal alcohol prohibition.

Legalization of medical marijuana in Vermont removes a layer of laws prohibiting the possession and use of marijuana, but federal prohibition will remain on the books.

FBI statistics show that law enforcement makes approximately 99 of 100 marijuana arrests under state, not federal law. By curtailing state prohibition, Vermont has swept away much of the basis for 99 percent of marijuana arrests.

Furthermore, figures indicate it would take 40 percent of the DEA’s yearly annual budget just to investigate and raid all of the dispensaries in Los Angeles – a single city in a single state. That doesn’t include the cost of prosecution either. The lesson? The feds lack the resources to enforce marijuana prohibition without state assistance.


Vermont has joined a growing number that are simply ignoring federal prohibition, and nullifying it in practice. Colorado, Washington state, Oregon and Alaska have already legalized recreational cannabis with California, Nevada, Maine, and Massachusetts set to join them after ballot initiatives in favor of legalization were passed in those states earlier this month.

With more than two-dozen states allowing cannabis for medical use as well, the feds find themselves in a position where they simply can’t enforce prohibition any more.

“The lesson here is pretty straight forward. When enough people say, ‘No!’ to the federal government, and enough states pass laws backing those people up, there’s not much the feds can do to shove their so-called laws, regulations or mandates down our throats,” Tenth Amendment Center founder and executive director Michael Boldin said.


The law will take effect on Jul. 1, 2017.

Shane Trejo writes for the Tenth Amendment Center, where this article first appeared.

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16 Comments on "New Vermont Law Will Increase Access to Medical Marijuana, Further Nullify Federal Prohibition"

  1. Disqus-helpsGOVTbreaklaws&kill | June 21, 2017 at 6:22 pm | Reply

    buying hemp with bit coin vs paper notes will help skate around taxation and inability of hemp sales to use a bank , so look for govts. to make bit coin non taxable laws in order to launder money for wealthy + avoid paying taxes that cities & states desperately need in order to fund unsustainable taxpayer funded govt employee salary & pension costs

  2. Thank you boss, I’s be grateful for you’s leadership for a dumb American.

    Just how long will you let this sh*t go on like someone can tell you what to smoke, who to marry, etc.???

    I can’t believe I chose to be on this planet.

  3. NJguy - Proudly Deplorable | June 22, 2017 at 8:21 am | Reply

    Aha, so nullification is a reality. Then let’s use it frequently to halt ALL the unconstitutional fed govt programs starting with the dept of ed. “common core”.

  4. “…In view of the fact that neither Amendment 18 nor church decrees have deterred drunkenness or drug abuse, what can be done about them? Although drunkenness is a sin against Yahweh (what in many instances amounts to idolatry7), it is the crimes committed by intoxicated people, not the drunkenness itself, that need to be prosecuted….

    “Because Yahweh’s law does not altogether prohibit alcohol or drugs, the answer is not to make them illegal as the Eighteenth Amendment (and church edict) did. Just as Amendment 18 was inept at controlling alcoholic consumption, so are current drug regulations. Responsible use should be promoted by punishing only those who cause harm to another person or his property. For example, instead of attempting to curb drunk driving by prohibiting excessive alcohol consumption, any drunk driver convicted of causing or contributing to the death of an innocent person should be put to death or forced to pay whatever the next of kin requires as ransom for his life. If the injured or disabled party does not die, the convicted felon (instead of an insurance company) should be compelled to pay for medical expenses and financial compensation for lost wages during convalescence. This compensation should be in addition to an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, or the required ransom. If the perpetrator cannot pay the required compensation, he is to be indentured until his debt is paid.12 Lex talionis not only promotes personal responsibility, it eliminates the need for the insurance industry.

    “Man’s efforts to control alcohol and drug abusers have been wholly ineffective. When Yahweh’s law is enforced and convicted murderers are put to death, society never suffers from repeat offenders after someone is killed as the result of drunken carelessness. If someone is killed, injured, or disabled as the consequence of another person’s irresponsible use of drugs, the punishment should correspond to the death, injury, or damage to the victim and their property. Today’s ineffective drug and alcohol laws have, in many instances, made criminals out of people who have hurt no one but themselves. This has forced innocent taxpayers to pay for the housing, feeding, and entertaining of people who should never have been imprisoned.13 Yahweh’s law makes people personally responsible for their actions, and His judgments substantially reduce both premeditated crime and careless disregard for the lives and property of others. A downsized and smaller government is an additional benefit of lex talionis. Federal agencies such as OSHA, the FDA, and the FAA are superfluous under Biblical law. The oversight of a speedy trials and the administration of the proper judgments are the only government intervention required in liability cases….”

    For more, see online Chapter 27 “Amendment 18: Prohibition: Repealed for Good Reason” of “Bible Law vs. the United States Constitution: The Christian Perspective.” Click on my name, then our website. Go to our Online Books page, click on the top entry, and scroll down to Chapter 27.

    Then find out how much you really know about the Constitution as compared to the Bible. Take our 10-question Constitution Survey in the right-hand sidebar and receive a complimentary copy of a book that examines the Constitution by the Bible.

  5. With German Company Bayer from EU buying Monsanto in $66-Billion Deal in NAU. Makes one wonder who plans to decriminalize Marijuana, when it has been sold off like Portugal EU. Where a person can only purchase 7 Days worth, any more can be sent Private Jail as a Dealer. Tis all planned and You are not in the Running.

  6. | June 25, 2017 at 1:55 pm | Reply

    I have medical marijuana for a back injury. I was quite surprised when it began healing past head traumas that I had completely forgotten about. As they healed, the plates in my head moved and I re-experienced the various traumas: motorcycle accidents, fights, bottles to the head (well, one bottle). It was weird and then I lost six pounds of what I could only assume was inflammation water weight. I have smoked since 1970 and although I always wondered how people could survive in this shitty society without weed, I never thought of it as medicine.

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