What does Vermont’s new marijuana law say about law enforcement and detention?
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.
Marijuana and police: the two don’t really mix, do they? As we’ve seen in previous weeks, and as we will continue to see in Wednesday’s to come, Vermont law enforcement agencies will still have a part to play in limiting personal marijuana possession, cultivation, and preventing public consumption.
4320 (c)(1) A law enforcement officer is authorized to detain a person if:
(A) the officer has reasonable grounds to believe the person has violated subsection (a) of this section; and
Subsection a of 4320 consists of three parts.
Subsection (a)(1) addresses both personal possession of marijuana and hashish and limitations to both. We covered both back in Week 3.
Subsection (a)(2)(A) is a callback to our look at public consumption of marijuana in Week 5. In short, one can’t consume marijuana in public spaces. Subsection (a)(2)(B) are the penalties one faces for public consumption.
Now the questions are: what counts as “reasonable grounds” in Vermont? How will “reasonable grounds” change in regards to home possession and consumption? These questions will most likely be decided in court.
4320 (c)(1)(B) the person refuses to identify himself or herself satisfactorily to the officer when requested by the officer.
(c)(2) The person may be detained only until the person identifies himself or herself satisfactorily to the officer or is properly identified. If the officer is unable to obtain the identification information, the person shall forthwith be brought before a judge in the Criminal Division of the Superior Court for that purpose. A person who refuses to identify himself or herself to the court on request shall immediately and without service of an order on the person be subject to civil contempt proceedings pursuant to 12 V.S.A. § 122.
Come July 1, 2018, the police will still be able to detain people for a number of marijuana-related reasons in addition to failing to identify oneself at the behest of an officer. So be careful, stay consistent with the limitations set by the state, and keep up with our blog.