Governor Peter Shumlin

VT Governor Peter Shumlin

Vermont may soon follow its New England neighbors in decriminalizing small amounts of marijuana. A tri-partisan bill has recently been introduced in the state House that would make the penalty for adults caught with less than two ounces of marijuana simply a $100 fine. A similar bill was also introduced in the state Senate but it would set the limit at one ounce. From WCAX:

Tuesday, Progressive Representative Chris Pearson of Burlington and Republican Representative Patti Komline of Dorset introduced House Bill 200. The tripartisan measure with 39 sponsors would transform small-scale marijuana crimes from felonies into civil offenses, meaning those caught with less than two ounces of pot would face a $100 ticket, not a record.

“It’ll still be taken pretty seriously for young people. For anyone older than 21, it’ll be a minor penalty,” Komline said. [...]

Vt. House Speaker Shap Smith says he won’t block the measure from coming to the floor for debate this session, allowing a full decriminalization debate in the Green Mountain State.

Governor Peter Shumlin (D) has proven to be a strong supporter of marijuana reform and considers marijuana decriminalization legislation a priority this year. With the House Speaker promising not to block the issue and the governor lobbying for it, marijuana decriminalization stands a very good chance of winning approval this session.

Currently, Vermont and New Hampshire remain the only two states in New England that have not yet decriminalized possession of small amounts of marijuana.

Photo by origamidon under Creative Commons license