Marijuana

Understanding Act 86: Vermont's Recreational Pot Law

Gov. Phil Scott signed Act 86 into law in January 2018, making it legal for adults 21 and older to possess an ounce of marijuana and cultivate a small number of marijuana plants under state law starting July 1, 2018.

Read Act 86 as enacted here.

Confused by the language? Check out our pot glossary.

Have questions about what the law means for you? Review our FAQ.

Angela Evancie / VPR file

The future of a bill to legalize marijuana is very much in doubt on this first day of the 2016 session. House Speaker Shap Smith says there are still many outstanding questions about the plan, and he doesn't think it's ready for a full debate at this time.

House lawmakers gave final approval to a wide-ranging gun bill Tuesday night. The legislation heads now to the Vermont Senate, which is expected to hold a final vote before the end of the week.
Angela Evancie / VPR file

Tuesday, the 2016 Legislative session kicks off in Montpelier. There's usually a lot more activity in the few first weeks of the second year of the biennium. That's because House and Senate committees aren't starting from scratch and they have dozens of bills to review that were introduced during the first year.

A new advisory commission created by Gov. Phil Scott this week will focus on the issue of marijuana legalization in Vermont.
labuda / iStock

Backers of the push to legalize marijuana say the commercial cannabis market will be a boon for the Vermont economy. But some major employers are challenging that argument, and at least two industry trade associations say legal weed will undermine the quality of the state workforce.

aga7ta / iStock

The University of Vermont's College of Medicine is offering a course on medical marijuana for the spring semester. Officially named "Medical Cannabis, Pharm-372," the course will cover the history of cannabis use, the current legal landscape, how the body responds to the drug and potential medical applications.

The co-founders of the Phytoscience Institute, Willy Cats-Baril, Dr. Kalev Freeman, Monique McHenry, Tom Grace and Robin Grace, from left, say they started the firm to improve medical cannabis research. The institute won a license to open a dispensary.
Peter Hirschfeld / VPR file

In 1996, California became the first state to legalize medical marijuana. Eleven years ago, Vermont followed suit. But doctors still know surprisingly little about the pharmacology of cannabis. And a Vermont-based think-tank is hoping to transform the industry by applying new scientific rigor to an old drug.

Kevin Wolf / Associated Press

Sen. Bernie Sanders introduced a bill Wednesday to end the federal prohibition on marijuana.

As Vermont officials and families are struggling to end the scourge of heroin across the state, Sanders says it’s disturbing that marijuana and something as deadly as heroin are classified the same in the eyes of the federal government.

Peter Hirschfeld / VPR

Assuming for a moment that elected officials decided it was time to legalize marijuana, what would a regulated cannabis market actually look like? That’s the question a key Senate committee has set out to answer, and lawmakers say that if legalization moves forward, they want to do it the Vermont way.

Kevin Wolf / AP

Sen. Bernie Sanders, speaking to college students at George Mason University Thursday, said he thinks the federal government should relax about weed.

Peter Hirschfeld / VPR

Next week, Vermont lawmakers will begin work on a bill that would create a legal market for marijuana in the Green Mountains.

Proponents say there’s a good chance the legislation will pass in 2016, but one group, Smart Approaches to Marijuana Vermont, is looking to slow the momentum behind the legalization movement.

Charlotte Albright / VPR

Should Vermont legalize marijuana?  It's a question that has been animating public forums around the state over the last few months in anticipation of the next legislative session, where it is likely to spur even more debate.

Last week, a group gathered at Lyndon State College to exchange views.

Steven Senne / Associated Press

  House speaker and now gubernatorial candidate Shap Smith has come out in favor of the legalization of  marijuana and says he'll push for a bill in the 2016 session. Momentum for legalization has been building in the state and many proponents have hopes for action next year.

iStock


As of Tuesday afternoon, Vermont's largest city has a new top cop. Brandon del Pozo was sworn in as Burlington's police chief earlier today.

Alison Redlich / AP

Backers of a plan to legalize marijuana in Vermont have received some significant legislative support from House Speaker Shap Smith.

JJRD / iStock.com

A group of Vermont business leaders called the Vermont Cannabis Collaborative has been inviting public comment on the best way to create a safe, sustainable marijuana industry. Medical marijuana is already being legally distributed, but using it recreationally is still against state law.

Brennan Linsley / AP

If a Vermont State Senator and some advocacy groups in Windham County have their way, the phrase "Vermont Home Grown" could be a reference not just to food, but also to marijuana.

Marijuana plants.
gaspr13 / iStock

Next year’s legislative session will be the last for Gov. Peter Shumlin, who announced in June that he won’t be seeking reelection in 2016. And some prominent lawmakers are hoping to get a marijuana legalization bill to his desk before he leaves office.

ElisabethAardema / iStock

While Vermont's lawmakers are unlikely to get around to deciding whether to legalize marijuana this session, the University of Vermont is hoping to keep the conversation about cannabis going with an online Cannabis Speaker Series.

Jeff Chiu / AP

Representatives Chris Pearson and Jean O’Sullivan introduced a bill this week to reinstate the prohibition of alcoholic beverages in Vermont, but they don’t want it to pass.

The bill, which would make possession of alcohol punishable by up to 30 years in prison and fines of $1 million, is the latest rhetorical flourish by lawmakers hoping to legalize marijuana in Vermont.

Courtesy / Castleton Polling Institute

The majority of Vermonters want the legislature to legalize marijuana, according to a recent poll.

The poll, conducted by the Castleton Polling Institute, said that 54 percent of Vermonters are in favor of legalization. The poll showed that 70 percent of Vermonters aged 18 to 44 are in favor of legalization, while just 28 percent in that age group are opposed. Support for legalization is lower among older residents, with 61 percent of Vermonters older than 64 opposed.

Taylor Dobbs / VPR/file

This week marks the 47th year that Washington County Sen. Bill Doyle has distributed his annual Town Meeting Day survey. This year's survey includes questions about taxes, the environment and the legalization of marijuana.

Pages