Midweek Marijuana Law Review: Where can you Consume Marijuana in Vermont?

Where can you Consume Marijuana in VT?

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.

In the last two weeks we’ve looked at the limitations surrounding both cultivation and possession of marijuana & cannabis products in the State of Vermont. Let’s stay with that train of thought and look at consumption.

Come July 1, where can you consume marijuana in VT? Here’s what Act 86 says:

A person shall not consume marijuana in a public place. “Public place” means any street, alley, park, sidewalk, public building other than individual dwellings, any place of public accommodation as defined in 9 V.S.A. § 4501, and any place where the use or possession of a lighted tobacco product, tobacco product, or tobacco substitute as defined in 7 V.S.A. § 1001 is prohibited by law.

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Let’s quickly find out what 9 V.S.A. 4501 and 7 V.S.A. 1001 are to get a clearer picture.

9 V.S.A. 4501 defines “Place of public accommodation” as:

…any school, restaurant, store, establishment or other facility at which services, facilities, goods, privileges, advantages, benefits or accommodations are offered to the general public.

And, 7 V.S.A. 1001  defines “Tobacco products” as:

…cigarettes, cigars, cheroots, stogies, periques, granulated, plug cut, crimp cut, ready rubbed, and other smoking tobacco, snuff, snuff flour, Cavendish, plug and twist tobacco, fine-cut, and other chewing tobaccos, shorts, refuse scraps, clippings, cuttings, and sweepings of tobacco, and other kinds and forms of tobacco prepared in a manner suitable for chewing or smoking in a pipe or otherwise, or both for chewing and smoking, or for delivery into the body through inhaling heated vapor or in any other manner.

Essentially, marijuana and cannabis products will be treated as if they were both alcohol and tobacco and its consumption will be banned in all public spaces.No smoking sign

Like Alcohol: Marijuana consumption in VT will be prohibited in or on the street, alleys, parks, sidewalks, public buildings, schools, or any businesses that are open to the general public.

Like Tobacco: Marijuana consumption in VT will be prohibited anywhere tobacco consumption is prohibited which, according to Vermont’s Clean Indoor Air Act, covers a lot of ground, including:  

  • The common areas of all enclosed indoor places of public access and publicly owned buildings and offices;
  • Designated smoke-free areas of property or grounds owned by or leased to the state;
  • Public school grounds, after school programs, and child care facilities;
  • In a motor vehicle with a child present. (A whole different beast that we’ll explore in a later MMLR);
  • And many, many more. For a more complete list check VT Dept. of health’s website.  

Private Residences

If we look back up at the text of Act 86 again we see the wording “…other than individual dwellings…” Does this mean that you can consume marijuana in your own residence?

Not so fast. Should you live in a rented space or plan on renting this can get a little sticky. We see on page 8 of Act 86, that this law does not:

(E) prohibit a landlord from banning possession or use of marijuana in a lease agreement…

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So what can happen if you unlawfully consume marijuana and cannabis products after July 1?

A few things. Your marijuana or cannabis products will be subject to seizure and forfeiture, and you could face civil fines.

  • A first offense will mean up to a $100 fine
  • A second offense will mean up to a $200 fine
  • A third and every other offense after can mean up to a $500 fine

Check back next week when we explore the relatively new world of cannabis concentrates, and what Act 86 has to say about them.

Check out past weeks of MMLR:

Week 1: Legal?

Week 2: What is Marijuana?

Week 3: Personal Possession.

Week 4: Personal Cultivation.

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