Vermont Cannabis Laws
Is Cannabis Legal In Vermont?
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Is recreational cannabis legal in Vermont?
Yes. Recreational adult-use of cannabis is legal in Vermont. H.511 signed into law in 2018, made Vermont the ninth state in the U.S. to legalize cannabis. This law was unique because Vermont was the first state to pass a recreational cannabis bill through legislation rather than a ballot initiative.
In October of 2020, Governor Scott announced he would allow S.54 to become law without his signature. Under this bill, recreational adult-use could now be regulated and finally sold and 30% of state tax revenue from retail sales will help fund after-school learning programs. Previously there was no legal way to purchase recreational products in the state.
Another bill passed by Scott was S.234, which automatically expunged all cannabis possession offenses. Under current Vermont recreational use laws, adults 21 years or older may possess up to 1 oz of cannabis at a time and cultivate two plants. Public consumption of cannabis will remain illegal.
Currently, recreational cannabis retail outlets are planned to open in 2022.
Is Medical Marijuana legal in Vermont?
Yes. Vermont’s SB 76 was passed in 2004, legalizing medical marijuana. There have been a few revisions made to expand further and clarify patient’s rights in 2007. Under Vermont’s medical marijuana program, registered patients may possess up to 2 oz of cannabis product and grow up to 2 mature plants. But, patients must choose between purchasing products via a dispensary or grow their own. Some of the conditions approved for medical marijuana treatment include/but not limited to:
- Intractable Pain
Are CBD products legal in Vermont?
Yes. Since the passage of the Hemp Farming Act of 2018, hemp-derived CBD products are legal under federal law in the United States, as long as they contain at most 0.3% THC.
Any and all CBD in food and drink is still federally illegal.
What’s Vermont’s recreational cannabis sales tax?
Vermont’s retail sales tax: 6%
Recreational cannabis excise tax: 14%
Local sales taxes may apply too.
What’s Vermont’s medical marijuana sales tax?
0%. Purchases of medical marijuana are exempt from sales and use tax under the
prescription drug statutory definition.
Is cannabis delivery legal in Vermont?
Yes. Delivery, only for medical marijuana products, is legal in Vermont.
Delivery services are still subject to local limits based on time, place, and manner of delivery (operating hours and delivery locations).
Vermont’s Cannabis Timeline:
1915: Vermont bans cannabis.
1937: The Marihuana (archaic spelling of Marijuana) Tax Act was enacted banning cannabis at the federal level. Medical Marijuana use was still permitted.
1951: The Boggs Act, Sponsored by Hale Boggs and signed into law under President Harry S. Truman, set mandatory sentencing and increased punishment for cannabis possession.
1969: The Marihuana Tax Act is deemed unconstitutional in the landmark Leary v. United States. Timothy Leary, a professor, and activist, was arrested for the possession of marijuana in violation of the 1937 Marihuana Tax Act. Leary then challenged the act because the act required self-incrimination, which violated his Fifth Amendment rights. (The self-incrimination clause provides various protections against self-incrimination, including the right of an individual to not serve as a witness in a criminal case in which they are the defendant, better known as “Pleading the Fifth.”) The court penned the unanimous opinion by Justice John Marshall Harlan II and declared the Marihuana Tax Act unconstitutional. Therefore, Leary’s conviction was overturned.
1970: The Controlled Substances Act is enacted (replacing the unconstitutional Marihuana Tax Act). Cannabis is classified as a Schedule I drug, determined to have a high potential for abuse and no accepted medical use, thereby prohibiting its use for any purpose. This act was signed into law by President Richard Nixon.
This legislation created five classifications, with specific qualifications for a substance to be included in each. The substances scheduling (classification) are determined by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Yet, Congress does have the power to schedule or de-schedule substances through legislation. Substance scheduling decisions based on its potential for abuse accepted medical use in treatment in the United States and international treaties.
Classification of Controlled Substances:
Schedule I: High potential of abuse, not acceptable for medical use
Schedule II: High potential of abuse, sometimes allowed with “severe restrictions” for medical use
Schedule II: Medium potential of abuse, acceptable for medical use
Schedule IV: Moderate potential of abuse, acceptable for medical use
Schedule V: Lowest potential of abuse, acceptable for medical use
1984-1986: Mandatory Sentencing and the three-strikes law were created under the Reagan Administration. This accounts for some of the harshest drug laws designed, including mandatory 25-year imprisonment for certain drug offenses and the death penalty’s promotion to be used against “drug kingpins.”
1998: House Joint Resolution 117, encouraged by the passing of California’s Prop 215, the House of Representatives passed this measure to support the existing Federal legal process for determining the safety and efficacy of certain drugs.
2004: Vermont’s SB 76 is passed, legalizing medical marijuana in the state.
2007: Vermont’s SB 7 passes and further expands its medical marijuana program.
2013: Vermont decriminalizes small amounts of cannabis possession with the signing of HB 200.
2014: The Rohrabacher–Farr Amendment passed in the U.S. House and signed into law prohibiting the Justice Department from interfering with the implementation of state medical cannabis laws.
2018: Vermont legalizes recreational adult-use of cannabis, with the state legislature passing H.511. Vermont became the first state to pass a legalization bill without using a ballot initiative.
2018: Farm bill legalizes low-THC hemp nationwide and effectively de-schedules hemp-derived cannabidiol (CBD) from the Controlled Substances Act.
2020: Governor Scott allows S.54 to become law without his signature. Under this bill, recreational adult-use in Vermont could now be regulated and finally sold.
2020: Governor Scott signs S.234, which automatically expunges all cannabis possession offenses in Vermont.
2022: Cannabis Retail Stores plan to open.