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Frequently Asked Questions About Marijuana in Vermont
Vermont has legalized marijuana for those who can demonstrate a medical need.
Is marijuana legal in Vermont?
When did marijuana become legal in Vermont?In 2004, through new legislation - rather than by voter initiative - the state enacted the Therapeutic Use of Cannabis Act, formally allowing individuals suffering from a severe and life-limiting diseases or illnesses to use, possess, and cultivate marijuana on a limited basis.
Where are the dispensaries in Vermont?No more than four dispensaries may be licensed at any time under the current law. As of April 2017, one dispensary license has been issued in each of the following cities:
- Vermont Patients Alliance in Montpelier
- Grassroots Vermont in Brandon
- Champlain Valley Dispensary in Burlington
- Southern Vermont Wellness in Brattleboro
Are they MED or REC dispensaries?Vermont has made legalized medical cannabis and, under current state law, the sale of the cannabis is allowed only at licensed medical dispensaries.
Who can be a medical marijuana patient in Vermont?Vermont requires a recommendation from a qualified health professional, defined as a licensed physician to practice medicine (M.D.or D.O), physician assistant (P.A), naturopathic physician (N.D.), or advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) before the state will accept an application and issue a registration ID. Though the accepted medical conditions and diseases which a health professional may recommend cannabis can be amended to include other conditions, as supported by research. Health professionals may currently recommend marijuana for any of the following:
- Multiple sclerosis
- Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) or acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS)
- A terminal diagnosis
- Cachexia, also known as wasting syndrome
- Severe, persistent chronic pain
- Severe nausea
How do I become a medical marijuana patient in Vermont?Any resident of Vermont can participate in the medical cannabis program, including minors under 18.
To join the Vermont medical cannabis program, you must be seen, evaluated, and cared for by your healthcare professional for three months prior to them recommending medical cannabis. In the event the patient has cancer, AIDS, or any terminal illness, the three-month requirement can be waived. After receiving a recommendation from an appropriate healthcare professional, patients who are 18 or older must submit an application available through the Vermont Department of Public Safety, including a fee of $50.
Minors may be registered by their parent or legal guardian. The guardian must also consent to the treatment in writing and become the caregiver of minor patients.
Where can I smoke?Medical patients are prohibited from using cannabis in a way that endangers the health or well-being of another person. In addition, smoking marijuana is specifically forbidden in any public place, which includes school buses and grounds, public transportation, a place of employment, a park, the beach, or any youth and recreation center.
How much does marijuana cost in Vermont?Information on pricing is scarce, but word through the grapevine is medical cannabis averages between $10-$15 per gram, translating to around $280 per ounce. Additionally, Vermont requires dispensary locations to have a sliding scale for pricing based on a patient's ability to pay.
How much marijuana can I buy and possess in Vermont?Vermont allows patients or their caregiver to possess as much as two ounces of cannabis at any time without fear of legal penalty. Dispensary locations are required to track sales, ensuring patients purchase no more than two ounces in any 30-day period.
Can I grow marijuana? How many plants?A patient or their primary caregiver may grow two (2) mature, flowering plants and as many as seven immature plants.
How do I get a job in the marijuana industry of Vermont?To work in one of Vermont's four dispensaries, the state requires you be a resident age 21 or older and submit a criminal background check, a passport-size photo, and a $50 fee with your application.
Is Drug testing for marijuana legal in Vermont?The therapeutic cannabis program does not allow patients to be under the influence while at work, allowing employers to continue drug testing practices as long as it is not done discriminatorily.
Is Delivery legal?Yes, delivery of medical cannabis and cannabis-infused products is legal in Vermont from the dispensary to the patient or their caregiver.
How to pay for marijuana in Vermont dispensaries?As long as cannabis remains federally illegal, dispensary locations in Vermont will continue to do most of their sales in cash transactions.
Vermont Marijuana Laws
Initially, the laws limited Vermont to four dispensary locations which could serve no more than 1,000 patients at a time. In 2014, the patient cap was removed and, though the number of dispensaries remained unchanged, dispensary locations were given the authority to deliver cannabis or cannabis-infused products to patients and their primary caregivers. Additionally, in 2013 Vermont passed decriminalization laws making the possession of small amounts of marijuana for any person 21 and older a fine rather than a criminal offense.
Only medical patients or their registered caregiver may legally possess marijuana in Vermont. Patients and their primary caregiver may possess as much as two ounces at any time and dispensary locations may dispense up to two ounces every month to a patient or caregiver.
Purchase and Possession Limits
If an individual 21 or older not registered as a medical patient is caught in possession of an ounce or less will be met by a $200 fine. Individuals under 21, however, if it is the first offense, will be required to complete a youth substance abuse safety program.
Driving while IntoxicatedBeing intoxicated while behind the wheel or in operational control of a vehicle, boat, heavy machinery, or any other vehicle powered by more than just muscles is expressly forbidden. Any person - including patients - caught driving while under the influence of cannabis is subject to 90-day suspension of driving privileges, fines as much a $750, and a term of imprisonment not more than 24 months. Additionally, consumption of marijuana while driving is itself a separate offense, punishable by a $500 fine.
Driving while in possession of marijuanaMarijuana can be delivered from a dispensary to a patient. Additionally, a registered patient or caregiver can transport their cannabis products under two main conditions:
- The cannabis or cannabis-infused product is in a locked container.
- The cannabis product never leaves the state.
Marijuana Use by MinorsOnly registered patients under the age of 18 may use cannabis or cannabis-infused products penalty-free. In order for a minor under 18 to be registered with the state program, the parent(s) or legal guardian must register as the primary caregiver and, in writing, consent to the treatment on behalf of their child. Any person between 16 and 21 years of age caught in possession of cannabis will be referred to the Diversion Program's Youth Substance Abuse Safety Program, where counseling, education, and treatment for substance abuse can be addressed. Failure to complete a substance abuse program will lead to a $300 fine and a 90-day suspension of their driver's licenses.
Growing Marijuana at HomeVermont allows patients and their caregiver to grow up to two (2) mature, budding marijuana plants at a time and up to seven immature plants or seedlings. Any person caught growing 1-2 plants who is not registered to do so with the program may be subject to misdemeanor charges, including as much as six months in jail and fines up to $500. If a person is caught with 10 plants or more, felony charges, including multiple years in prison, become a possibility.
Places to Consume Marijuana LegallyVermont laws prohibit cannabis from being smoked in any of the following places:
- On school bus
- On the grounds or property of any school
- On any form of public transport, including buses and taxis
- At a place of employment
- In any correctional facility
- On any public beach, park, or youth and recreation centers
Legalization OutlookVermont, despite a relatively small population, is estimated to have spent between $125-$225 million on illegal marijuana sales in 2014. To tap into this revenue potential, in early 2017, lawmakers in Vermont introduced a bill which would restructure Vermont state law to regulate cannabis similarly to alcohol. This would include:
- Restricting access to adults 21 and older.
- Removing criminal penalties for possessing up to one ounce of marijuana and not more than five grams of marijuana concentrate.
- Allowing adults age 21 and up to grow up to two mature plants and as many as four immature plants at any one time.
- A comprehensive regulatory system would be created.
Vermont Marijuana Prices and Economic Data
Patients are allowed to purchase as much as two ounces from a dispensary location during any thirty day period, with no clear equivalencies between marijuana flower or concentrates.
According to a bulletin by the Vermont Department of Public Safety, a gram of marijuana costs between $10-$15 on average, though this can vary based on the strain. At this price per gram, an ounce would cost between $280-$375. If we assume a patient is purchasing 1.5 ounces at an average cost of $300 per ounce and patient volume stays constant, the estimated sales would top $20.5 million in 2017. This estimate, it should be noted, does not consider other forms of cannabis, such as an edibles or concentrates, and nor the effect of patients growing their own cannabis.
While the state does not currently tax medical marijuana, any fees collected - such as those associated with applications or licensing - are to be deposited in the registration fee fund. The funds are to be used in the oversight of the medical marijuana program.
The standard application fee is $50 for patients and caregivers. Based on patient and caregiver numbers alone, over $212,500 will be collected on an annual basis.
Marijuana Activities: Things to do in Vermont
The Burlington Bike PathGet away from it all and take a ride (or walk) on the Burlington Bike Path. The eight-mile path connects residential areas, commercial zones, and the shoreline of Lake Champlain, creating a path close to restaurants, waterside activities, and several of Burlington's city parks. Take the causeway separating Malletts Bay from the main section of Lake Champlain and experience the 360-degree view of water and mountain.
Skiing and SnowboardingIt is no secret Vermont is home to some of the best skiing on the East Coast. Choose from Mount Mansfield, Killington, or Stowe, each home to a variety of majestic slopes and runs to help you enjoy the winter.
The Shelburne MuseumHome to over 150,000 artworks exhibited across 39 buildings - 25 of which were relocated for their historic value - the Shelburne Museum is a massive collection of artwork, furnishings, and decor from the 19th and 20th century. Located on a 45-acre plot near Lake Champlain, the museum is an exploration of Americana completed with impressionist paintings, 19th-century quilts and textiles, and folk art.
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