Friday, June 7, 2013
Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin [official website] signed a bill[H.200, PDF] on Thursday decriminalizing possession of small amounts of marijuana. Vermont became the seventeenth state in the US [Reuters report] to decriminalize marijuana, adding to a growing trend of more lenient drug laws and regulations. Under the new legislation possession of less than one ounce of marijuana (28.3 grams) would be treated as a civil penalty, replacing jail time with a fine similar to one for a traffic ticket. Additionally anyone under the age of 21 caught with small amounts of marijuana would be treated the same as if they were in possession of alcohol. Upon signing the bill Shumlin emphasized the importance of shifting state resources [press release] from drugs such as marijuana to more addictive and harmful opiates like heroin and meth.