LEARN | LAWS & REGULATIONS
Is weed legal in Vermont?
Yes, both adult-use and medical marijuana are legal in Vermont, though recreational sales are not yet operational.
Vermont legalized marijuana for medicinal use in 2004 when the state legislature passed S 76, An Act Relating to the Medical Use of Marijuana . The governor didn’t sign it, but the bill passed anyway, removing legal possession and cultivation penalties for patients and setting up the Vermont Marijuana Registry. In the intervening years, additional bills have expanded the list of qualifying conditions and the types of healthcare professionals allowed to recommend marijuana for their patients.
In January 2018, Gov. Phil Scott signed H. 511 , eliminating penalties for possessing small amounts of marijuana for adults 21 years of age and older. The law, which became Act 86, legalized up to 1 ounce (28 grams), two mature plants, and four immature plants for each adult.
In 2020, the state legalized recreational sales when Gov. Phil Scott allowed Vermont S. 54 , which was introduced in 2019, to pass without his signature. The law stipulated that all localities must opt-in to having adult-use retail establishments, special consideration be given to small-scale cultivators and businesses owned by people of color and women, and a Cannabis Control Board (CCB) and advisory board be set up.
The Department of Public Safety’s Vermont Marijuana Registry (VMR) is responsible for issuing medical cannabis cards to Vermont patients with qualifying conditions and making sure registered dispensaries are compliant with state laws. S. 54 required that control move to the CCB on March 1, 2022.
Once recreational cannabis retail outlets open (it’s planned for 2022) adults over 21 will be able to purchase cannabis in Vermont. They will be limited to flower that doesn’t have more than 30% THC and concentrates with no more than 60% THC. Edibles can have up to 50 milligrams of THC with servings of no more than 5 milligrams of THC each. Unflavored vape pen cartridges are the only oil allowed.
Registered patients and caregivers with medical marijuana cards can buy cannabis from one of the dispensaries sanctioned by the VMR . Medical sales are tax-exempt. THC limits imposed on recreational cannabis do not apply to medical marijuana.
Patients can only buy from their designated dispensary. They are limited to one chosen dispensary at a time and can only change the designation once every 30 days for a $25 fee.
A patient can assign a caregiver to buy and deliver medical cannabis if the patient is unable to obtain marijuana on his or her own. Delivery services are also available.
Finding licensed dispensaries in Vermont
Medical marijuana card holders can find licensed dispensaries in Vermont and search by cities including Burlington, Montpelier, and Plattsburgh. Many dispensaries in Vermont offer delivery and curbside pickup services in addition to storefront sales.
Cannabis cannot be consumed outside of a private space or within public view. The governor’s Marijuana Advisory Commission is recommending that Vermont’s smoke-free laws extend to cannabis. Consumption in a public place can result in a $100 fine for the first offense.
Driving under the influence of marijuana carries severe penalties. First-time offenders could face up to two years in prison and a $750 fine. Those with more than four convictions could face a decade in prison and $5,000 in fines. Consuming cannabis while driving, which extends to second-hand smoke if anyone in the car is smoking, can result in a $500 fine, even for registered patients. An open container of marijuana in a car can result in a $200 fine.
Adults 21 and older who are not patients can possess up to 1 ounce (28 grams) of marijuana or 5 grams of hashish, and grow a maximum of two mature marijuana plants or four immature marijuana plants. Marijuana harvested from home cultivation does not count towards the 1 ounce total.
A registered medical marijuana patient and caregiver can collectively possess up to 2 ounces (57 grams) of marijuana, two mature marijuana plants, and seven immature cannabis plants. Marijuana harvested from home cultivation does not count towards the 1 ounce total. Patients may only transport cannabis if the product is in a locked container out of public view.
View the cannabis laws & regulations for Vermont.
Happy 4/20, VT: It turns out your green friend is pretty expensive, especially compared to other states
Here are a few key rules to know in Vermont’s new marijuana legalization law, which takes effect on July 1, 2018.
For marijuana-lovers April 20 — more commonly referred to as 4/20 — is an annual opportunity to celebrate the green substance that Vermont legalized in July 2018.
But it turns out weed is pretty expensive in the Green Mountain State. Keep in mind that marijuana cannot be sold our bought in the state for recreational purposes: It can only be bought for medicinal use.
A recently-published study mapped out the average cost for an ounce of high-quality and medium-quality marijuana, ranking states from most-to-least expensive:
- Vermont was ranked at 13 for its average cost of an ounce of high-quality marijuana, at $346.
- The state secured the No. 10 spot for its average cost for an ounce of medium-quality marijuana, at $300.
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The average cost for a joint (a rolled cigarette used to smoke marijuana), was $7.59 nationally. Vermont only slightly exceeded that price at $8.05.
The study used data offered through PriceOfWeed.com, which enables users to submit how much they paid for varying quantities of marijuana.
The U.S. capital took the lead on both metrics: Washington D.C. nabbed the top spots for both medium and high-quality marijuana at over $500 for an ounce of each. Oregon, Washington and Colorado — all states where marijuana is legal — rounded out the cheapest spots for an ounce of high-quality marijuana, which all fell into the $200 range.
What could account for Vermont’s marijuana prices?
“Well the short answer is there’s not really any data on the illicit market,” Eli Harrington said.
Harrington is the cofounder and COO at Heady Vermont, which specializes in cannabis news and events. He named some different factors at play that could be influencing pricing in the illicit market.
One example includes people beginning to grow marijuana for themselves and their friends, which has been legal in Vermont since July 2018. Consequently, he said legalization has impacted the Green Mountain State’s illicit market.
Eli Harrington, founder of the website Vermontijuana.com, stands on Church Street in Burlington, VT on March 3, 2016. (Photo: Erin Siegal McIntyre / Free Pres)
However, he acknowledged this market is not just bound to Vermont.
“The illicit market is a national market,” he said, meaning legalization in California or a supply of marijuana in other New England states could impact how much someone pays on the street for the substance.
Licensing and a large amount of legal supply from a diverse array of sources can influence the cost of weed, Eli explained.
“State laws in one state versus another, the impacts are really more about kind of supply and demand,” he said. “And, like, how much legal supply are you creating to offset the illegal supply?”
Still, he said the study’s estimated cost of an ounce in Vermont did not sound particularly expensive. He reframed it, by explaining it people typically pay for a smaller quantity — like an eighth of an ounce (3.5 grams) for around $40.
Vermont’s marijuana law
Gov. Phil Scott signed Act 86 in January 2018, which allows Vermonters above 21 to possess small amounts of marijuana. It went into effect July 1.
The cannabis plant contains more than 400 different chemicals that can affect the body and mind. (Photo: Getty Images)
Specific rules include the following:
- Adults can possess up to one ounce of marijuana.
- Individuals who grow marijuana can keep four immature plants and two mature plants.
You can still get in trouble if:
- You possess more than the allotted amount outlined above.
- You give/enable someone under 21 with marijuana.
- You smoke in a street, sidewalk, alley, etc.
You cannot buy marijuana anywhere in Vermont unless it is for medicinal purposes.
4/20 is Saturday. Marijuana was legalized in Vermont last year with restrictions. It happens to drive one of the hardest bargains in the country.