How much marijuana can you have in Vermont?
Disclaimer: This is not legal advice. I am not a lawyer. This piece is purely for informational purposes regarding Act 86, a Vermont bill that pertains only to Vermont and has no bearing on federal law.
If you’ve read the first and second MMLR, or are a VT resident, you know of Act 86; the bill Vermont passed that will extensively decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana.
Today we’ll be diving into:
- How much marijuana can you have in Vermont?
- What happens if you exceed the personal limit.
First a look at the text of Act 86.
“…a person 21 years of age or older who possesses one ounce or less of marijuana or five grams or less of hashish and two mature marijuana plants or fewer or four immature marijuana plants or fewer or who possesses paraphernalia for marijuana use shall not be penalized or sanctioned in any manner by the State or any of its political subdivisions or denied any right or privilege under State law. The one-ounce limit of marijuana or five grams of hashish that may be possessed by a person 21 years of age or older shall not include marijuana cultivated, harvested, and stored in accordance with section 4230e of this title.”
That’s a lot of ground to cover in just two sentences: age, amount, accessories, and state vs. federal law. Let’s break it down by issue.
- Like alcohol, you must be 21 or older to possess and consume marijuana come July 1, 2018. And, providing it to underage users will mean big consequences.
- At no point are you allowed to carry more than one ounce (28 grams) of marijuana. The threshold for hashish– a concentrate derived from marijuana flowers– is 5 grams. You can also possess mature and immature plants on top of consumable marijuana, but we’ll cover cultivation next week.
- Paraphernalia includes smoking devices, storage cases and bags, and scales. As of right now, most paraphernalia can be bought at the age of 18 for tobacco use. Should these accessories be used for marijuana by an underage user, they can still be confiscated by authorities.
- It’s important to remember that Act 86 is a Vermont state law and has no bearing on federal authorities. So while Vermont authorities will not bother you for complying with this law, federal authorities will still operate on the basis that marijuana is a Schedule I drug.
So what happens if you exceed your personal limit? Well there are different levels of punishment, dependent on how much is in your possession, and how many times you’ve violated the law.
The first violation could land you in a court diversion program; a rehabilitation program designed to help those who unknowingly exceed their possession limit avoid a court record. Although if a prosecutor claims that the program wouldn’t do any good, then that person could face 6 months in prison, a $500 fine, or both.
The second violation offers no such program. At that point, Vermont will claim that you knew the rules and you broke them knowingly. This is where penalties can get sticky.
If you knowingly and unlawfully possess…
- Over one ounce of marijuana, or five grams of hashish – up to two years in prison, a $2,000 fine, or both.
- Over two ounces of marijuana, or 10 grams of hashish – up to three years in prison, a $10,000 fine, or both.
- Over one pound (16 ounces), or 2.8 ounces of hashish- up to five years in prison, a $10,000 fine, or both.
- Over 10 pounds (160 ounces), or one pound of hashish- up to 15 years in prison, a $500,000 fine, or both.
(From p. 2-4)
Knowing how much marijuana you can have in Vermont can save you big time in the long run, both figuratively and literally. Stay tuned for next week when we’ll look into cultivating and growing restrictions.
**Clarification: There are exceptions to the personal possession limits. If you should so choose to cultivate your own marijuana after July 1, you can possess greater than one ounce in the same dwelling as cultivation “…provided it is stored in an indoor facility on the property where the marijuana was cultivated and reasonable precautions are taken to prevent unauthorized access to the marijuana.” (4230e(a)(3) page 11 of Act 86)
You may never carry more than the limit on you. All excess should be locked away, inaccessible to underage (20 and younger) persons.
Catch up on previous MMLR’s.