Vermont Marijuana Bill advances to House Floor

Posted by Sagar Satapathy on March 27, 2017.

The Vermont House Judiciary Committee has approved a bill with 8-3 vote, which would legalize small amounts of marijuana for personal use for adults 21 and older. The bill, H.170, moves next to the House of Floor for voting in next week.

The measure would remove criminal and civil penalties to the residents for possession of one ounce of personal possession and home cultivation of up to two mature and four immature marijuana plants. Penalties for possession of more than one ounce of marijuana would also be reduced.

Director Laura Subin of the Vermont Coalition to Regulate Marijuana appreciated the move by the House Committee.

“We are very encouraged by the vote in the Judiciary Committee. The extra time they took to hold the vote gave them time to work with their colleagues and answer their questions. I think it is a very encouraging sign for the prospects of the bill on the floor”, Laura said in a statement.

Rep. Maxine Grad, D-Moretown, the chairwoman of the committee, described the move as an incremental step. She believes legalization could improve community relationships with law enforcement and free up court resources.

Grad also said that marijuana legalization is an issue of criminal justice because people of color are disproportionately incarcerated on marijuana charges, and people who grow marijuana are penalized even though marijuana has been decriminalized.

Representatives who voted in support of H.170 include Rep. Maxine Grad (D-Moretown), Rep. Chip Conquest (D-Wells River), Rep. Tom Burditt (R-West Rutland), Rep. Selene Colburn (P-Burlington), Rep. Kimberly Jessup (D-Middlesex), Rep. Martin LaLonde (D-So. Burlington), Rep. Kiah Morris (D-Bennington), and Rep. Barbara Rachelson (D-Burlington).

On the other hand, Rep. Eileen Dickinson (R-St. Albans), Rep. Gary Viens (R-Newport) and Rep. Janssen Wilhoit (R-St. Johnsbury) voted against the measure.

comments powered by Disqus