Just ask Vermont’s former Attorney General, William Sorrell, who received a parting gift not typically bestowed upon a state’s top law enforcement officer. But Sorrell isn’t your typical Attorney General. He’s one of the earliest supporters of marijuana decriminalization in the state of Vermont, and now has the license plate to prove it. That’s right, Vermont’s former Attorney General has a 420 license plate.
A Fitting Gift
Sorrell’s glistening green license plate was gifted to him courtesy of the man that hired him—former Vermont Governor Howard Dean. Appointed back in 1997, Sorrell became the longest-serving Attorney General in the state’s illustrious 226-year history after he retired earlier this year.
Dean left his post in 2003 but didn’t want to leave Sorrell hanging. The 70-year-old Sorrell recalled that before Dean retired, one of his aides reached out to Sorrell, and mentioned how the Governor wanted to give Sorrell and his three sisters vanity license plates, a gift typically bestowed upon friends of the Governor.
Most vanity plates happen to be three-numbers, with lower numbers indicating prominence. Sorrell accepted, but wouldn’t receive the license plate until he turned in the plates he used as the Attorney General.
According to Sorrell, the vanity plates sat in DMV storage for the next 13 years. When he went to retrieve his plates last December, he was pleasantly surprised about the number he received.
“I took it out of the manila folder and raised it in the air, laughing. Everybody got a huge kick out of it,” Sorrell said.
Surprisingly enough, Sorrell says the plate number was a coincidence, above all else.
Sorrell claims that Dean had no idea that the number ‘420’ was a cannabis connotation, noting that Dean was unaware of the reference until Sorrell had reminded him during April 20 protests.
The ex-Attorney General says he had requested a conservation plate from the DMV, which he was denied. Sorrell said he then went back and requested a ‘420’ plate instead. So while Dean may have been in the dark about the cannabis reference, Sorrell clearly was not.
Final Hit: Vermont’s Former Attorney General Has A 420 License Plate
Coincidence or not, Sorrell’s license plate certainly suits his tenure as a state official. Throughout his tenure as Vermont’s Attorney General, Sorrell was a huge proponent of recreational cannabis. During his last year in office, Sorrell urged state lawmakers to push a proposal that would legalize recreational weed in the state of Vermont.
While that bill has yet to come to fruition, Sorrell still left his mark by decriminalizing marijuana back in 2013. Sorrell’s House Bill 200 successfully replaced Vermont’s pre-existing criminal penalties for petty possession of up to 1 ounce of marijuana with civil fines.
While Sorrell declined to comment on his own recreational use, he declared he would, without a doubt, be keeping his green gift.
“I’m not going to trade it,” he said. “It makes me smile every time I see it. It’s a source of pleasant amusement.”