Baby on board.
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.
Did you know that on top of potential criminal penalties for using marijuana and driving, it’s a civil infraction to use tobacco or marijuana in a motor vehicle with a child present?
Sec. 15 23 V.S.A. 1134b is amended to read:
1134b. USING TOBACCO OR MARIJUANA IN A MOTOR VEHICLE WITH CHILD PRESENT
(a) A person shall not possess a lighted tobacco product or use a tobacco substitute as defined in 7 V.S.A. 1001 in a motor vehicle that is occupied by a child required to be properly restrained in a federally approved child passenger restraining system pursuant to subdivision 1258(a)(1) or (2) of this title.
Which children are required to be properly restrained in a restraining system? 23 V.S.A. 1258(a) and (b) define them as “…under the age of eight years…” So, children seven and younger need to be in a booster/car seat, and no one in the vehicle can use a tobacco product while that child is present in the vehicle, or else…
(c)(1) A person who violates subsection (a) of this section shall be subject to a civil penalty of not more than $100 and no points shall be assessed.
Marijuana is a little different. Second and thirdhand smoke from combustion consumption (smoking) is still a concern, but marijuana’s effects on a minor’s developing brain call for more serious penalties.
(b) A person shall not use marijuana as defined in 18 V.S.A. 4201 in a motor vehicle that is occupied by a child under 18 years of age.
(c)(2) A person who violates subsection (b) of this section commits a misdemeanor crime and shall be subject to the following penalties:
- A fine of not more than $500.00 for a first offense;
- A fine of not more than $750.00 for a second offense;
- A fine of not more than $1,000.00 for a third or subsequent offense.
(3) A person who violates subsection (b) of this section shall be assessed two points.
When Vermont’s new personal-use marijuana law comes into effect on July 1, 2018, perhaps the best way to protect yourself from any legal mishaps is to keep your marijuana inaccessible to them at all times. You’ll not only be doing your children a favor by keeping them away from the substance, you’ll be doing yourself one too.