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The Cannabis Catch-Up: Vermont State Government Preps for Legalization


Published June 15, 2018 at 4:13 p.m.

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We’re two weeks away from legalization day and Vermont state government is getting its ducks in a row.

On Thursday, the Attorney General’s office released workplace guidance on the new cannabis law. Seven Days' Sara Tabin took a spin through the 17-page document and found that, really, not much has changed.

Meanwhile, also on Thursday, the Vermont State Police issued a 10-page training bulletin to all its troopers (full bulletin viewable below). The document contains facts and definitions about elements of the law to help guide officers out in the field. A few of the more interesting bits:

  • If you’re 21 or older and give someone younger than 21 marijuana, it’s a criminal offense.
  • Selling remains illegal (but you already knew that).
  • Landlords must stipulate in a lease agreement any tenant prohibition on cannabis possession or growing. “Unless the cultivation or possession is otherwise prohibited by law, treat as a civil landlord/tenant issue,” the bulletin reads.
  • Smoking in public is a civil violation subject to a fine up to $100 for first-time offenders.
  • As for one frequently asked question regarding vehicle searches and seizures: “Odor of marijuana alone does not constitute reasonable suspicion for purposes of search and seizure,” the bulletin reads. “However, odor of burnt marijuana may lead to investigation of DUI for signs of impairment.”

Police have scheduled a “media roundtable” for Tuesday, June 19, at state police headquarters in Waterbury to discuss “the impact of recreational marijuana legalization on agency operations such as training and enforcement.” Should be informative.

Here are some other cannabis stories we followed this week:

June 11: Once cannabis is legal in Vermont, the rules will be different for medical marijuana patients and recreational users. How is that going to work? [April McCullum, Burlington Free Press]

June 12: According to Chittenden County State’s Attorney Sarah George, about 40 people showed up at the Costello Courthouse on Tuesday to file petitions to wipe out past misdemeanor marijuana possession convictions. Sara Tabin talked to several of them. Spoiler alert: Most were pretty pumped about the whole thing. [Sara Tabin, Seven Days]

June 12: Getting ready to home-grow some cannabis? Wondering about its potency? Some Vermont labs will open their doors for everyday schmoes who wanna get their weed tested. [Joel Banner Baird, Burlington Free Press]

June 12: Now that we’ve conquered mapping the human genome, scientists have turned their attention to the next most important thing: cannabis. “Beyond just learning which plants most benefit growers and their customers,” Rolling Stone reports, “creating a comprehensive cannabis genome advances our understanding [of] the medicinal properties of cannabis itself.” [Thor Benson, Rolling Stone]

June 13: A cameo in a sex-advice column! A fed-up reader writes in about her boyfriend’s daily pot habit and asks if his smoking could be ruining their sex life. [Scarlett Letters, Seven Days]

June 13: A Franklin singer-songwriter wrote a tribute to “Legal Weed.” Have yerself a listen here. [Jordan Adams, Seven Days]

June 14: There are two lessons from the story about Shelburne Farms employees falling ill from improper cannabis munching: Make sure to label your chocolate marijuana edibles as such. And, if you work in the hospitality industry, maybe don’t eat candies that guests leave behind in their rooms. You might end up lying in a parking lot. [Sasha Goldstein, Seven Days]

June 14: In Maine, the state’s highest court ruled that a company’s workers’ compensation fund cannot be required to pay for an employee’s medical marijuana. [Edward D. Murphy, Portland Press Herald]

June 14: It seems the fine folks at the Free Press are rolling out their explainer stories on weed before it's legal; this one was the third story in a week. It looks at Vermont’s recreational marijuana law compared to the other eight states — and Washington, D.C. — where pot is legal. [April McCullum, Burlington Free Press]

June 15: A 12-year-old boy in the United Kingdom has found cannabis oil to be the only effective treatment for his severe seizures. But officials at Heathrow Airport in London seized some supplies from his mother after the family flew in from Toronto, where they had gone to get the boy treatment. Charlotte Caldwell says they’ve spent four years of Billy’s life abroad to get him treatment, because cannabis oil is illegal in the UK. [Mattha Busby, the Guardian]

June 15: Senior citizens like weed, too! “I never understood why it’s described as 'stoned,'” said Carl Klein, who described himself as a cannabis user of 60 years. “It makes me feel very fluid; it always has!” [Macy Jenkins, CBS Sacramento]

June 15: Lawmakers in Illinois passed a bill that would give anyone with an opioid painkiller prescription access to the state’s medical marijuana program. It’s unclear if the state’s Republican governor will sign it into law. [Christine Herman, National Public Radio]

Read the full Vermont State Police training bulletin below:

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