At the beginning of January 2018, the Vermont house voted to legalize weed.
It’s ironic that the vote came just hours after the attorney general stated there will be a shift in how federal government views state laws legalizing cannabis.
So just as the federal government is saying that they may not turn a blind eye to marijuana growers and buyers in states that have legalized marijuana anymore, Vermont goes and joins eight other states in making cannabis legal.
It’s a step forward for weed smokers, and for libertarians who want to decriminalize people who are in effect doing nothing wrong.
But what are the implications of the Green Mountain State legalizing marijuana? Are we heading towards the United States fully legalizing cannabis, or is this latest vote just confusing the issue further?
What Does Legalized Cannabis In Vermont Mean?
Well, legalized cannabis in Vermont brings good news and some not so good news.
It’s taken a bit of time to get into law because the previous bill was veted because of concerns about protecting public safety. So although it’s clear cut now as being law, it may not be in the future and could be easily overturned.
Basically, it decriminalizes personal possession of no more than 1 ounce for adults 21 years and older. It also allowed personal cultivation of one or two mature plants on private property.
However, there is no taxation linked to this bill, and it’s still illegal to actually buy or sell cannabis.
So this legalization of cannabis is a bit of a trade off between those in power who want to legalize it, and those that don’t, with it basically been okay to smoke it and grow it, but illegal to sell it or to buy it.
It also remains illegal to smoke marijuana in a public place, and there are no legalized premises to buy, sell or smoke marijuana in.
The Problem With State Legalization Of Weed
So if you live in Vermont, there’s good news and bad news. It’s great news if you want to smoke, but not so great if you buy it because it’s still illegal to do that.
You can have a couple of cannabis plants in your house if you are that way inclined, but other than that nothing else has changed. Basically, you’re still a criminal if you smoke outside, or if you buy or sell it, which means legally it’s still quite a gray area.
On top of that, there is still the big issue around state law and federal law. The two contradict each other, creating a legal mess in which many innocent people still get caught and mashed up.
As mentioned at the start of this, the federal government has actually shifted its stance from where it was under Obama administration, basically turning a blind eye to people buying and selling cannabis in states where it is legal.
The implication from what the attorney general said, and recent noises being made by the DEA, is that if they want to prosecute you, they will do so by pointing at federal law and hoping to overrule state law.