Vermont Marijuana Laws

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Marijuana possession, sale, and manufacture are regulated by both state and federal law. As of July 1, 2013, Vermont became yet another state to "decriminalize" the personal possession and use of less than one ounce of marijuana. The state allows medical marijuana use under limited circumstances. While not covered in this article, it is also a crime to drive under the influence of marijuana in Vermont.

To learn about Vermont's medical marijuana laws, see Vermont Medical Marijuana Laws.

For information about charges and penalties for driving under the influence of marijuana in Vermont, see Driving Under the Influence of Marijuana in Vermont.

Possession and Cultivation

Possession of less than one ounce or five grams of hashish by an adult is now a civil infraction in Vermont. However, it is a crime to knowingly or intentionally possess or cultivate more than that amount. Penalties vary according to the amount of marijuana involved in the violation. (Vt. Stat. Ann. § 4230)

  • Adults possessing less than one ounce or five grams of hashish. A civil penalty of up to $200 for the first offense, $300 for the second, and $500 for the third. Violations do not result in the creation of a criminal record.
  • Persons under the age of 21, possessing less than one ounce or five grams of hashish. Juveniles are referred to a drug diversion program. Failure to complete it results in a $300 fine and a 90-day suspension of a driver’s license; penalties increase for second violations, and a third violation is a crime, punishable by up to 30 days’ imprisonment and a fine of $600, or both.
  • Possession by a person under age 16. Offenders are handled through the juvenile court system.
  • Adults possessing between one and two ounces of marijuana or five grams or less of hashish. Penalties include no more than six months in jail and up to $500 in fines, or both. First offenders must be given the opportunity to participate in a drug diversion program unless the District Attorney objects. For second offenders, penalties include a fine of up to $2,000, up to two years in prison, or both.
  • Two ounces or more, but less than one pound; three to nine plants. Penalties include a fine of up to $10,000, up to three years in prison, or both.
  • One pound or more, but less than ten pounds; ten to 24 plants. Penalties include a fine of up to $100,000, up to five years in prison, or both.
  • Ten pounds or more, but less than 50 pounds; 25 or more plants. Penalties include a fine of up to $500,000, up to 15 years in prison, or both.
  • 50 pounds or more. See Sale and Trafficking, below.

Sale and Trafficking

Selling any amount of marijuana is illegal in Vermont. Penalties vary according to the amount sold, with offenses involving 50 pounds or more known as “trafficking” in marijuana. Penalties increase for second and subsequent offenses, and for sales to a minor. (Vt. Stat. Ann. § 4230(b)&(c).)

  • Less than one half of an ounce. Penalties include a fine of up to $10,000, up to two years in prison, or both.
  • One half ounce or more, but less than one pound. Penalties include a fine of up to $100,000, up to ten years in prison, or both.
  • One pound or more, but less than 50 pounds. Penalties include a fine of up to $500,000, up to 15 years in prison, or both.
  • Trafficking in marijuana (50 pounds or more). Someone who possesses 50 pounds of marijuana or more in Vermont will be presumed to have the intent to sell it. Thus, no sale needs to actually take place to be charged with trafficking in marijuana. Penalties include a fine of up to $1,000,000, up to 30 years in prison, or both.

Drug Paraphernalia

It is illegal to sell (or possess or manufacture drug paraphernalia with the intent to sell it) in Vermont. Paraphernalia includes items used in growing, harvesting, processing, selling, storing, or using marijuana. Penalties include a fine of up to $1,000, up to one year in jail, or both. Sales to a minor incur a fine of up to $2,000, up to two years in prison, or both. (Vt. Stat. Ann. § 4476.)

The Value of Local Legal Representation

If you have been charged with a marijuana-related offense, consult an experienced criminal defense attorney. While the penalties and consequences of a marijuana charge are governed by statutory law, only a local criminal defense attorney can tell you how cases like yours tend to be handled by prosecutors and judges in your courthouse.

 

 

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