Legal Cannabis Unfolds in Massachusetts and Vermont — Very Slowly
Vermont on July 1 formally became the ninth state in America to legalize adult-use cannabis — and the first to do so through its state legislature rather than a popular initiative.
The law that just took effect in Vermont allows adults to possess up to one ounce of cured marijuana, as well as two mature and four immature plants per housing unit. It does not, however, create a system for commercial sales, which meant the state saw no long lines at dispensaries and no historic first sale on July 1.
Vermont’s Ambiguous Start
Gov. Phil Scott signed Act 86, Vermont’s legalization law, in January with “mixed emotions,” after having vetoed an earlier version of the law in May of 2017, saying it failed to provide tough enough strictures on public use and sales to minors. But the Burlington Free Press says the new law allows for adult cannabis use only “within boundaries of some clear and not-so-clear rules.” Among the cited ambiguities are how police will enforce the one-ounce limit when it comes to edibles, the definition of public consumption and what exactly constitutes a “secure” grow site.
In addition to not being able to legally smoke in public or on the roads — even in an automobile — Vermonters are also forbidden to light up on Lake Champlain, which is a federal waterway. Growers whose plants yield more than an ounce can keep the extra bud at home, but are barred from leaving the house with more than the permitted ounce. And commercial sales are also verboten. As Vermont Public Radio explains, anyone who breaks their legal ounce up into joints and sells them at the local farmer’s market would be committing an offense punishable by up to two years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000, Fortunately, giving the stuff away for free is