Vermont the 17th State to Loosen Pot Laws
Possession of up to an ounce about to be decriminalized
By Rob Quinn, Newser Staff
Posted May 14, 2013 2:29 AM CDT
Updated May 14, 2013 5:25 AM CDT
First-time misdemeanor possession offenses in Vermont currently carry a maximum sentence of six months in jail.   (AP Photo/Peter Dejong, File)

(Newser) – The Green Mountain State just got a little greener: Vermont's legislature has voted to make the state the 17th to loosen its marijuana laws, the Times Argus reports. A bill decriminalizing the possession of under an ounce of pot has passed both chambers and is now headed to the desk of Gov. Peter Shumlin, a supporter of the measure. "I applaud the Legislature's action to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana," the Democrat said in a statement. "Vermonters support sensible drug policies."

The move, which makes possession a civil offense punishable by a fine of up to $500, frees "our courts and law enforcement to focus their limited resources more effectively to fight highly addictive opiates such as heroin," Shumlin said. Vermont's legislature also passed a bill allowing farmers to grow hemp, which, like the marijuana bill, is at odds with federal law, VPR notes.

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Showing 3 of 33 comments
May 14, 2013 10:10 AM CDT
Hey pothead losers: They are not decriminalizing pot in so many of the states because it's good for you, it's because cops and courts are just tired of wasting time and resources on you.
May 14, 2013 7:34 AM CDT
Apparently the contributors below don't understand the difference between decriminalization and's NOT the same thing.
May 14, 2013 7:20 AM CDT
Good move, except the fine should be reduced to 100 dollars. That alone will bring in zillions to the public coffer. They won't be forced to press traffic infractions to keep their courts funded.