Shumlin to sign marijuana decriminalization bill into law Thursday

News Release — Marijuana Policy Project
June 5, 2013

ESSEX JUNCTION –- Gov. Peter Shumlin is scheduled to sign legislation Thursday that will decriminalize possession of limited amounts of marijuana in Vermont, making it the 17th state in the nation to decriminalize or legalize marijuana. The signing will take place at 1 p.m. during the governor’s remarks at the Statewide Criminal & Juvenile Justice Training Conference at the Inn at Essex in Essex Junction (70 Essex Way).

“We commend Gov. Shumlin, the state’s top law enforcement officials, and the legislature for their leadership and support of this important legislation,” said Matt Simon, a legislative analyst for the Marijuana Policy Project, which lobbied in support of the bill. “The governor’s signature marks another major milestone in the evolution of marijuana policy in Vermont.

“Removing criminal penalties for marijuana possession slows the bleeding, but it will not stop until marijuana prohibition is replaced with a more sensible policy,” Simon said. “Marijuana is objectively less harmful than alcohol and it is time for the state to start exploring policies that treat it that way.”

H. 200, introduced by Rep. Christopher Pearson (P-Burlington) with a tripartisan group of 38 co-sponsors, will 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 will 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.

Vermont Attorney General William Sorrell and Public Safety Commissioner Keith Flynn testified in favor of the bill, which was approved in the Senate (24-6) on May 7 and in the House (98-44) on April 12. Nearly two-thirds (63%) of Vermont voters support such a proposal, according to a survey conducted by Public Policy Polling in February 2012.

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  • Jim Barrett

    While drug abuse is out of control this governor decides to make pot legal……….while the feds say it is totally illegal! No wonder the young people today don’t have a clue as to what is right and what is wrong.

  • Mark Quist

    Young people know the truth, it’s what the old have forgotten, that what’s right is the freedom to ingest what works best for you. What’s wrong is having a government that can’t even balance a check book telling you what’s best for you.

  • Robert Allen

    legalize the mariwana . all is safe atnd the medical use works! don’t beleive……ask anyone about it and hear for yourself.

  • ed hemp

    Washington state cheers…

    Hemp Hemp Hurray Vermont…!

  • josh wheatley

    Jim we know what is right and wrong you relic. Wrong is putting non violent offenders in jail for smoking weed. You don’t payu that bill because you probably upwards of 60 and half dead. Bet your a gun hater and christian too! Go smoke your cigar and watch another episode of mattlock

  • Marc Sloan

    The young people in today’s world are confused about what’s “right” and what’s “wrong” because of our government’s need to satisfy themselves and not the people. Marijuana was made illegal to benefit big business and line the pockets of both “BB” and the government, not for any safety or health reasons.

  • james temple

    For 1 thats how laws change. Marijuana is much safer then alcohol, tobacco, and any other legal drugs.Marijuana is only illegal because the republican politicians wanted the mexican people who were here not to smoke it.why because they are racist.that is why it’s illegal the drug problem is alcohol ,meth, crack, pills and heroin

  • Fred Woogmaster

    Mr. Wheatley: I have been an advocate for the legalization of marijuana for quite some time and I am over 60. This measure is a tiny step – but a step. The issue is now being discussed much more openly, certainly a sign of progress.

    If you post again, I would ask you to be more respectful. Your post sounded mean-spirited to me which I think to be unnecessary.

  • Ronnie Flores

    The government will not legalize marijuana because they can’t make a profit of it! Anybody can plant a seed and grow it. Thats the reason why they don’t approve. If the government can’t capitalize oi n it then they are go ok ng to shut down the idea. They did it wit alcohol and tobacco

  • Christian Noll

    “Nothing so needs reforming as other peoples habits.

    Fanatics will never learn that, though it be written in letters of gold across the sky.

    It is the prohibition that makes anything precious.”

    Mark Twain

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