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VT Gov. Peter Shumlin Signs Law Decriminalizing Marijuana

Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin

Starting next month possession of marijuana will be decriminalized in Vermont. Thursday afternoon Governor Peter Shumlin (D) officially signed into law a bill significantly reducing the penalties for possession of up to an ounce of marijuana. The bill, H 200, was approved by large majorities in both the House and the Senate.

Previously, possession of a small amount of marijuana was a misdemeanor punishable by up six months in jail and a $500 fine for a first offense. Subsequent offenses could theoretically result in up to two years in jail.

Under the new law, possession of up to an ounce of marijuana by adults 21 and over will result in only a civil fine. The maximum fine will be $200 for a first offense, with slightly higher fines for repeated offenses. People under the age of 21 caught with marijuana will also be required to undergo substance abuse screening.

Vermont is now the 17th state to adopt a law that decriminalizes or legalizes the possession of small amounts of marijuana for adults. The law will go into effect starting July 1st.

Photo by Hekerui under Creative Commons license.

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Jon Walker

Jon Walker

Jonathan Walker grew up in New Jersey. He graduated from Wesleyan University in 2006. He is an expert on politics, health care and drug policy. He is also the author of After Legalization and Cobalt Slave, and a Futurist writer at http://pendinghorizon.com

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