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Vermont marijuana laws

Vermont marijuana laws

Current legality status

recreational


Cannabis is legal under state law for adults 21+.

Vermont became America’s first state to legalize the adult use of cannabis via the state legislature in 2018—previous legal states had all done it via a statewide ballot initiative.

Adults 21 and older are allowed to possess up to 1 ounce of cannabis flower and up to 5 grams of hashish or concentrates, and grow up to 6 plants at home.

It’s not yet legal to sell marijuana in Vermont, though, as the state has taken a long time to pass a law that would allow the licensing of legal cultivation, processing, and retail sales.

On Sept. 22, 2020, the Vermont legislature passed a new law regarding marijuana sales, record expungement, and possession limits. If Gov. Phil Scott signs it, that law will take effect on Jan. 1, 2021. Retail sales are expected to start on May 1, 2022. Read about the coming changes to Vermont’s marijuana laws here.

Find a dispensary in Vermont

Use Leafly Finder to find a dispensary near you.

Vermont recreational marijuana laws

Vermont Gov. Phil Scott signed adult-use legalization (known as H.511) into law on January 22, 2018. Scott admitted he had “mixed feelings” about legalization, but said “what adults do behind closed doors and on private property is their choice, so long as it does not negatively impact the health and safety of others, especially children.”

The problem with Vermont’s 2018 legalization law is that it allows adults to legally possess a certain amount of cannabis but not to legally purchase it. So consumers have been left to either grow and cure their own cannabis plants—which is quite easy: check out Leafly’s many guides to show you how—or obtain it on the illicit market, or to make it appear through some sort of wizardly magic.

As of September 2020, legislators in Vermont’s House and Senate were said to be very close to a deal on a retail marijuana bill that would allow commercial sales to finally begin.

Vermont medical marijuana laws

Medical marijuana was first legalized in Vermont in 2004 without establishing a framework for sales. The state passed legislation to allow dispensaries to sell cannabis products in 2011.

Cannabis became legal for all adults statewide in 2018, but there are still advantages to registering as a medical marijuana patient in Vermont. Registered patients may possess more cannabis than those not holding medical cards: up to 2 ounces of usable marijuana, 2 mature marijuana plants, and 7 immature marijuana plants (for a total of 9 plants).

Vermont qualifying conditions for medical marijuana

Vermont requires patients to prove, via a doctor’s diagnosis, that they have one of the conditions listed below in order to qualify for a medical card:

  • Cancer
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • HIV
  • AIDS
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Glaucoma (if the disease or the treatment results in severe, persistent, and intractable symptoms)
  • PTSD (requires the Mental Health Care Provider Form)

Patients may also qualify if they have a disease or medical condition (or the treatment thereof) that is chronic, debilitating, and produces one or more of the following intractable symptoms:

  • Cachexia or wasting syndrome
  • Chronic pain
  • Severe nausea
  • Seizures

For a complete list of qualifying conditions and guidelines, please refer to the Vermont Department of Public Safety’s Marijuana Registry page.

How to get a medical marijuana card in Vermont

Vermont residents should consult a healthcare professional to see if they qualify to receive a medical marijuana card. Those who do must go to the Vermont Medical Registry (VMR) website for the patient registration packet.

The packet provides a checklist for applicants, which includes these steps:

  • Submit a photo
  • Enclose a completed Health Care Professional Verification Form. That form confirms that the patient applicant has a qualifying medical condition as defined by Vermont law.
  • Submit a nonrefundable $50 fee
  • If you plant to grow, list the address and location where you plan to cultivate

The VMR must approve or deny an application in writing within 30 days of receipt of a completed application.

You can get more information on the Vermont DPS’s Registration Packet Page.

Does Vermont accept out-of-state medical cards?

No. Dispensaries are allowed to sell only to registered Vermont resident-patients who have named that establishment as their designated dispensary.

When does my Vermont medical card expire?

Patients who have been issued medical cards must renew every year with the VMR. Renewal forms are available on the VMR website and must be mailed along with a $50 fee between 30 and 90 days before the card’s expiration date.

While new applicants must submit a photo, those renewing are not required to do so unless their appearance has changed significantly.

Vermont marijuana growing laws

Adults over the age of 21 are permitted to grow up to 2 mature plants, and up to 4 immature plants (without flowers or buds). Those limits apply even in shared dwellings, such as among roommates or family members.

Plants must be in an enclosure shielded from public view or access, and inaccessible to anyone under 21.

Vermont public consumption laws

It is legal to use cannabis on private property, but the law prohibits smoking, consuming, or vaping cannabis in public places such as sidewalks, parks, or establishments. And smoking cannabis or cannabis products is prohibited in places where it is illegal to smoke tobacco. Property owners and landlords can ban the possession and use of cannabis on their properties. Employers can ban possession and use at the workplace.

Additional laws include:

  • Possession and use is prohibited in all Section 8 housing.
  • Use or cultivation at licensed childcare centers or after school programs is against the law.
  • Because cannabis is not federally legal, you cannot possess or use cannabis on federal lands, including national parks.
  • It is illegal for both the driver and her/his passengers to use cannabis in an operating vehicle. If you have cannabis in a vehicle, it must be in a closed package or container in the trunk of the vehicle. Transporting cannabis in any other part of the vehicle is against the law.
  • Although cannabis is legal in some other states, it is illegal to take it across state lines, even if you are traveling to another state where marijuana is legal.
  • Gifting or sharing marijuana with anyone under the age of 21, or possessing more than the designated amounts, are both prohibited.

Vermont cannabis DUI laws

Even in states where marijuana use is permitted, it is illegal to drive while under the influence. Any person who drives in Vermont is implied to have given consent to submit to a chemical test of their breath, and a refusal to submit to a test will result in a license revocation for six months and possible prosecution by the state.

Cannabis DUI penalties

Penalties for driving under the influence of marjjuana are as follows:

  • 1st offense: Up to two years’ imprisonment, $750 fine, or both, $160 DUI surcharges, driver’s license suspension for 90 days.
  • 2nd offense: Up to two years’ imprisonment, $1,500 fine, or both, $160 DUI surcharges, driver’s license suspension for 18 months and may drive only with an IID installed, 200 hours of community service, 60 consecutive hours of imprisonment must be served, but credit for a sentence of imprisonment may be received for time served in a residential alcohol facility if the program is successfully completed.
  • 3rd offense: Up to five years’ imprisonment, $2,500 fine, or both; $160 DUI surcharges, driver’s license shall be revoked for life, and may only operate a vehicle with an IID installed; 96 consecutive hours must be served, but credit for a sentence of imprisonment may be received for time served in a residential alcohol facility if the program is successfully completed.
  • 4th and subsequent offenses: Up to 10 years’ imprisonment, $5,000 fine, or both; driver’s license shall be revoked for life, and may only operate a vehicle with an IID installed; 192 consecutive hours must be served, but credit for a sentence of imprisonment may be received for time served in a residential alcohol facility if the program is successfully completed.

Vermont cannabis testing regulations

The industry is largely self-policed in Vermont. Licensed dispensaries are required to establish testing protocols and make associated data available to the state for review.

Common questions about marijuana legalization in Vermont

How do I change my designated dispensary in Vermont?

You’ll need to complete a Change of Information form and submit a $25 fee. The VMR usually issues a new registry identification card within 10 days of receiving the form and fee. You can only change your designated dispensary once in any 30-day period.

Is information submitted to the VMR confidential?

Yes. It’s considered protected like any medical record. Your medical information is not part of the National Instance Criminal Background Check System.

How much cannabis can I legally possess in Vermont?

All adults 21 and older may possess up to 1 ounce of cannabis flower and up to 5 grams of hashish or concentrates, and grow up to 6 plants at home.

Registered medical marijuana patients may possess up to 2 ounces of marijuana flower, 2 mature marijuana plants, and 7 immature marijuana plants (for a total of 9 plants).

What are the Vermont medical program’s qualifying conditions?

  • Cancer
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • HIV
  • AIDS
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Glaucoma (if the disease or the treatment results in severe, persistent, and intractable symptoms)
  • PTSD (requires the Mental Health Care Provider Form)

Patients may also qualify if they have a disease or medical condition (or the treatment thereof) that is chronic, debilitating, and produces one or more of the following intractable symptoms:

  • Cachexia or wasting syndrome
  • Chronic pain
  • Severe nausea
  • Seizures

Can I buy cannabis at a Vermont dispensary if I am visiting from out of the state or out of the country?

No. Dispensaries are allowed to sell only to registered Vermont resident-patients who have named that establishment as their designated dispensary.  

Keep up with the latest news about legalization in Vermont

You’ll want to keep current on Vermont’s fast-changing laws by bookmarking Leafly politics and signing up for our newsletter.

Post last updated Sept. 8, 2020