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Vermont Gov. Signs Bill Marijuana Decriminalization Bill into Law

June 8th

MONTPELIER, VT – Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin (D) signed into law Thursday a bill decriminalizing the possession of small amounts of marijuana. That makes Vermont the 17th state to decriminalize, including all of its neighboring New England states except New Hampshire.

Introduced by Rep. Christopher Pearson (P-Burlington) and passed with tripartisan support, House Bill 200 removes criminal penalties for possession of up to one ounce of marijuana and replaces them with a civil fine, similar to a traffic ticket. People under 21 will be required to undergo substance abuse screening.

Under current state law, possession of up to two ounces of marijuana is a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail for a first offense and up to two years in jail for a subsequent offense.

“This change just makes common sense,” Shumlin said as he signed the bill. “Our limited resources should be focused on reducing abuse and addiction of opiates like heroin and meth rather than cracking down on people for having very small amounts of marijuana.”

Earlier this week, Shumlin signed a package of bills aimed at reducing problems associated with opiate use, including measures designed to reduce opiate overdose deaths.

“We applaud Gov. Shumlin, the state’s top law enforcement officials, and the legislature for their leadership and support of this importan. . . . . READ MORE

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DC Marijuana Decriminalization Bill Likely Coming Soon

May 17th

The Peace Monument, Washington, DC (file)

The Peace Monument, Washington, DC (file)

WASHINGTON, DC — Faced with the prospect of having District of Columbia marijuana policy determined directly by voters through the initiative process, at least two members of the DC Council are considering introducing legislation that would decriminalize pot possession in the nation’s capital.

The Washington Post reported the Council members Marion Berry (D-Ward 8) and Tommy Wells (D-Ward 6) are formulating a decriminalization bill, hoping to settle the matter before outside groups petition the issue onto the ballot.

Marion Barry (D-Ward 8) and Tommy Wells (D-Ward 6) — who as chairman of the Judiciary and Public Safety Committee would shepherd the legislation — are formulating a proposal to eliminate criminal penalties for those caught with small amounts of cannabis or subject offenders to fines.

“Absolutely, it’s time we look at decriminalization of marijuana in the District of Columbia,” said Wells, who is chairman of the Judiciary and Public Safety Committee and who is running for mayor next year. “It’s time we enter the 21st century and stop criminalizing pe. . . . . READ MORE

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Vermont Becomes the 17th State to Decriminalize Marijuana

May 13th

cannabis cuffs

MONTPELIER – State lawmakers gave final approval Monday to a measure that will decriminalize possession of limited amounts of marijuana in Vermont.

The bill will now be transmitted to Gov. Peter Shumlin, who is expected to sign it into law in coming weeks, at which time Vermont will become the 17th state in the nation to decriminalize or legalize marijuana.

“We applaud the Vermont Legislature for adopting this much-needed legislation and setting an example for other states in the region and around the country,” said Matt Simon, a legislative analyst for the Marijuana Policy Project. “The exceptionally broad support demonstrated for this measure reflects the progress our nation is making toward adopting a new and more sensible approach to marijuana policy.

“The days of criminalizing people simply for using a substance less harmful than alcohol are coming to an end,” Simon said.

House Bill 200, introduced by Rep. Christopher Pearson (P-Burlington) with a tripartisan group of 38 co-sponsors, will remove criminal penalties for possession of up to one ounce of marijuana and replace them with a civil fine, similar to a traffic ticket.

Those under age 21 would be required to undergo substance abuse screening. Under current state law, posse. . . . . READ MORE

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Vermont Legislature Passes Marijuana Decriminalization; Gov. Shumlin Expected to Sign Bill Into Law

May 13th

cannabis cuffs

MONTPELIER – State lawmakers gave final approval Monday to a measure that will decriminalize possession of limited amounts of marijuana in Vermont.

The bill will now be transmitted to Gov. Peter Shumlin, who is expected to sign it into law in coming weeks, at which time Vermont will become the 17th state in the nation to decriminalize or legalize marijuana.

“We applaud the Vermont Legislature for adopting this much-needed legislation and setting an example for other states in the region and around the country,” said Matt Simon, a legislative analyst for the Marijuana Policy Project. “The exceptionally broad support demonstrated for this measure reflects the progress our nation is making toward adopting a new and more sensible approach to marijuana policy.

“The days of criminalizing people simply for using a substance less harmful than alcohol are coming to an end,” Simon said.

House Bill 200, introduced by Rep. Christopher Pearson (P-Burlington) with a tripartisan group of 38 co-sponsors, will remove criminal penalties for possession of up to one ounce of marijuana and replace them with a civil fine, similar to a traffic ticket.

Those under age 21 would be required to undergo substance abuse screening. Under current state law, posse. . . . . READ MORE

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Vermont Senate Committee Approves Marijuana Decriminalization Bill

May 8th

cuffs for cannabis

MONTPELIER, VT – The Vermont Senate Committee on Judiciary approved a bill 4-1 on Tuesday that would decriminalize possession of limited amounts of marijuana.

It will now be considered by the full Senate. The House of Representatives gave final approval to the bill on April 16.

Vermont Attorney General William Sorrell and Public Safety Commissioner Keith Flynn testified in favor of the bill, and Gov. Peter Shumlin has also expressed support for such a proposal.

“Vermont is another step closer to a more sensible marijuana policy, and the change cannot come soon enough,” said Matt Simon, a legislative analyst for the Marijuana Policy Project. “People should not be branded as criminals simply for using a substance that is objectively less harmful than alcohol, and there are certainly more serious crimes for law enforcement officials to address.

“I hope the Senate will join their colleagues in the House, the state’s top law enforcement officials, and the people of Vermont in supporting this com. . . . . READ MORE

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Vermont Senate Votes to Approve Marijuana Decriminalization Bill

May 8th

cannabis cuffs

MONTPELIER, VT – The Vermont Senate voted 24-6 Tuesday to give initial approval to a bill that would decriminalize possession of limited amounts of marijuana. After the Senate gives its final approval, which could happen as early as today, it will be sent to the House of Representatives to sign off on the amended bill before sending it to Gov. Peter Shumlin for his signature.

The House of Representatives gave its initial approval to the bill on April 16, and Gov. Shumlin has expressed support for the proposal. Vermont Attorney General William Sorrell and Public Safety Commissioner Keith Flynn testified in favor of the bill.

“We are pleased to see the Senate has joined their colleagues in the House and given their initial approval to this important legislation,” said Matt Simon, a legislative analyst for the Marijuana Policy Project. “There is exceptionally strong support for this proposal among the voters and the legislature has really stepped up and delivered.

“The public’s attitude toward marijuana is changing in Vermont and around the nation,” Simon said. “Most people agree that simply possessing a substance less . . . . . READ MORE

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