Republican Gov. Phil Scott publicly announced at a news conference that he intends to sign legislation into law legalizing the use and cultivation of personal use quantities of marijuana by adults. The Governor vetoed similar legislation last year.
House Bill 511 eliminates existing civil penalties specific to the possession of up to one ounce of cannabis, and also removes criminal penalties with regard to the private cultivation of six marijuana plants (two mature and up to four immature). Those who cultivate marijuana for their own personal use may possess at home the total quantity of their harvest.
The measure also imposes new civil penalties for consuming cannabis while driving, and imposes additional penalties for those who operate a motor vehicle impaired with a minor in the vehicle.
“We’ll take a look at it to make sure it’s technically correct, and then I’ll sign the bill,” Scott said during a Statehouse press conference yesterday. “This is a libertarian approach. I’ve said I’m not philosophically opposed to it. I know there are diverse opinions … as to whether we should move forward, but I still firmly believe that what you do in your own home should be your business, as long as it doesn’t affect someone else.”
Vermont will be the first state to legislatively act to eliminate both criminal and civil penalties for personal marijuana possession and growing.
Once signed, the new law will take effect July 1, 2018.