can you buy pot in vermont

You Asked, We Answered: Vermont’s Recreational Pot Law

On July 1, Vermont’s Act 86 makes it legal for adults 21+ to possess an ounce of marijuana and cultivate a small number of marijuana plants under state law.

But there are specific and sometimes confusing guidelines under the law that determine how people can use cannabis in the state. So we asked Vermonters what questions they have about Act 86.

Here are the most frequently asked questions we received (as well as our best attempt to get a clear answer!).

You CAN use marijuana:

  • In your own home
  • In your rented apartment if your landlord OKs it
  • Outside, but not in public spaces

You CANNOT use marijuana:

  • In your rented apartment if your landlord prohibits you from doing so
  • In public spaces
  • While operating a motor vehicle or while a passenger in a motor vehicle
  • On or near a school campus, daycare or after-school facility, even after hours

Can you smoke in public places?

According to Act 86 a “public place” is defined as “any street, alley, park, sidewalk, public building other than individual dwellings, any place of public accommodation as defined in 9 V.S.A. § 4501, and any place where the use or possession of a lighted tobacco product, tobacco product, or tobacco substitute as defined in 7 V.S.A. § 1001 is prohibited by law.”

Be prepared for a civil penalty on this one if you break the new rules: It’s a fine of up to $100 your first time, $200 your second and $500 for all further offenses.

How will this fit into existing “can’t smoke here” rules we have now? For example: Church Street.

Lawmakers said they tried to parallel the rules around tobacco use when crafting the new marijuana rules.

Will personal use on private patios of owner-occupied condominiums be legal?

Depends. If you have a condo board or governing body for your building, you should check to see if there are building-specific rules.

Under Act 86, each “dwelling unit” is allowed four immature plants and up to two mature (flowering) plants at one time.

What exactly is a “dwelling unit”? According to Act 86, a “dwelling unit” is “a building or the part of a building that is used as a primary home, residence, or sleeping place by one or more persons who maintain a household.”

So if you live with two roommates in an apartment, the law allows the three of you collectively to have two mature, flowering marijuana plants and four immature plants at your home.

If I grow the four plants, then the harvest will be over 1 ounce for legal possession. How is one to grow, harvest and store the crop legally?

The bill had this predicament in mind, according to lawmakers: You’re legally allowed to keep whatever your two (mature) plants produce if you keep the marijuana in a secure place in your home or wherever it was originally grown.

If you’re growing your own marijuana: You’re still not allowed to leave your house with more than 1 ounce, but you can keep what your plants grow in excess of 1 ounce securely at home.

If you’re not growing your own: You’re not allowed to possess more than 1 ounce of marijuana or 5 grams of hashish.

If your mature plant produces 2 or 3 ounces, can you keep it? The law states 1 ounce only.

Exactly. So as we just outlined — if each of your two legal, mature, flowering marijuana plants produced 2 ounces, that would leave you with 4 ounces at your home.

As long as you store your 4 ounces of marijuana in a secure place at your home (“dwelling unit”) you’re in the clear under Act 86.

Just make sure to never leave the house with more than an ounce and you’re complying with the new law.

Clarification on amounts and sales/taxes would be great. Allowing me two mature plants that yield 3 ounces each . can I possess that much dried product legally? And can I sell it? (I’d rather not be the first to get busted at a farmers market.)

So we got to the first part of this question already, but it’s the second we should clear up once and for good:

Act 86 deals with the possession of marijuana — not sale.

So if you head to the farmers market and sell the 1 ounce of homegrown marijuana you’re allowed to leave the house with (because as we just learned, you can’t leave the house with more than an ounce), you’re committing a crime punishable by up to two years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

There is a nuance about gifting worth checking out below, though.

The Governor’s Marijuana Advisory Commission is expected to report on a system for Vermont to legalize and license the marijuana market by Dec. 15, 2018.

Yes, as long as by “outside” you mean an enclosed location that can only be accessed by people age 21 and over and isn’t visible to the general public.

So you CAN grow your six plants (two mature, flowering plants and four immature plants) outside, if:

  • They’re in an enclosure screened from public view
  • Access is limited to those 21 and over who have permission from the cultivator

Like with using marijuana in public, you’re in for a hefty civil penalty if you break the new rules: It’s a fine of up to $100 your first offense, $200 for your second and $500 for all further offenses.

The law specifies that you need to have your plants in a contained area, but nothing says what the law means by “contained.” Is a greenhouse secure enough? Is a grow tent on your back porch? Does it need to be under lock and key?

The bill isn’t clear. The goal is to avoid having people under 21 gain access to the plants (or to your harvested marijuana). So on a personal level, whatever you can do to secure your plants is a step in the right direction.

We asked Tim Fair, a Burlington-based lawyer focused on the Vermont cannabis industry. Among the things Fair suggested:

  • A private security fence
  • A “no trespassing” sign
  • Locked access

This is a statewide issue that will likely get taken to the state Supreme Court and hammered out. Stay tuned. Until then, keep those under 21 away from plants.

That’s a hard one.

Marijuana is still illegal at a federal level so getting things sent to you from out of state or via the USPS is a violation of federal law.

A clone is a cutting from a female plant that can sprout roots and be replanted as a new plant of its own.

July 1 celebrations or events may include genetics exchanges for those interested in swapping plants.

As Tim Fair, the Burlington-based lawyer focused on the Vermont cannabis industry, notes, neighboring states have markets going online July 1.

But Fair says once you cross a state line, “you have a greater liability in terms of federal law.”

What about the possession of alternate forms of cannabis, i.e. tinctures, edibles, concentrates? [Will those be] legal to possess?

With the exception of anything that requires the use of butane or hexane to do chemical extraction, you’re allowed to use marijuana to make other items.

The thing to note here is it’s hard to tell how much marijuana is in a pot brownie. So if you get stopped, an officer cannot easily tell if you and your container of pot brownies are in violation of the 1 ounce rule.

According to Adam Silverman, public information officer for the Vermont State Police, “currently the state forensic lab lacks the technical capability to perform that type of analysis.”

But Silverman said, “if the need ever arose, DPS [Department of Public Safety] would make arrangements with an out-of-state lab to perform testing on a case-by-case basis.”

Are there limits? Can I make [them] at home, sell or purchase?

You still have to stay within the limits of what you’re allowed to possess under the law. So you’re allowed to travel with an ounce within Vermont, and store at home what you make from the plants you grow.

When it comes to selling or purchasing —

Selling is still illegal.

So what you’re referring to here is also known as the “gift economy” and it got big in Washington, D.C. after the city legalized use of marijuana but had no clear framework in place for buying or selling it.

As Tim Fair, a Burlington-based lawyer focused on the Vermont cannabis industry, notes, that would probably fall under what’s allowed with Act 86 as long as you’re under the 1 ounce amount.

That said, there’s a tremendous amount of ambiguity which could result in issues like this one being brought before the Vermont Supreme Court.

The one thing to be sure to avoid is allowing people under 21 to gain access: It’s a criminal act to dispense or enable a person under 21 access to marijuana in the state of Vermont under Act 86 — regardless of if you’re selling or gifting. Penalties can be as steep as five years in jail and up to $10,000 in fines.

Given that the act has only put forth provisions for personal growth and consumption of marijuana but does not speak to the sale of marijuana, have any police departments released statements on how they will handle personal sales? For example, if a person has grown their own crop and then sells amounts beneath the allowed amount to friends?

Earlier this month, the Vermont State Police released a training bulletin on Act 86.

On page one it notes: “knowingly and unlawfully selling marijuana remains a criminal offense under 18 V.S.A § 4230(b)”

So, no. Don’t sell it. It’s illegal.

If your friend is 21 and over and the amount you’re gifting is an ounce or less — then yes.

On July 1, Vermont's Act 86 makes it legal for adults 21+ to possess an ounce of marijuana and cultivate a small number of marijuana plants under state law

Vermont Marijuana FAQs

Is marijuana legal in Vermont?

Yes, beginning July 1, 2018, Vermont marijuana laws allow for adult use possession for adults 21 and over. The state legislature passed S.54, An Act Relating to the Regulation of Cannabis, to establish a system of sales and taxation in October of 2020, and expects to have recreational cannabis dispensaries open in October of 2022. The state’s medical marijuana program continues uninterrupted, which enables patients under 21 to possess and consume medicinal marijuana.

Where can I buy marijuana in Vermont?

Medical marijuana patients can purchase their cannabis at state-approved dispensaries. Vermont’s adult-use marijuana laws allow for purchase, possession, consumption and home cultivation, however dispensaries are not open yet. Recreational cannabis dispensaries are expected to open in October of 2022.

How long is my medical marijuana card valid?

Cards are valid for one year at a time. Cardholders must renew their department-approved application at least 30 days before their license is set to expire.

How much marijuana can I possess?

Vermont marijuana laws allow for adults 21 and over to possess up to one ounce of usable marijuana. Medical marijuana patients are allowed up to two ounces of usable marijuana. If cultivated by the person in accordance with state grow regulations, the amount harvested is not counted toward the personal possession limit.

Where can I consume marijuana in Vermont?

Adult use consumption is contained to within the home or rental property with the landlord’s approval. Similarly, the state medical marijuana laws do not explicitly state where consumption is relegated, its wording essentially limits use to within the home as well.

Can I grow my own medical marijuana in Vermont?

Yes, medical marijuana cardholders are allowed to grow up to nine plants with two or less mature at any time. Adult use cultivation is limited to four immature plants and two mature per home, regardless of the number of residents.

Can I designate a caregiver?

Yes, a patient can designate a caregiver that meets that state’s criminal history requirements. If the patient is under the age of 18, the registration fee is waived for the caregiver application.

Does Vermont offer medical cannabis reciprocity?

No, Vermont only honors in-state medical marijuana cards at this time.

Can I go to jail for marijuana possession in Vermont?

Yes, violating Vermont marijuana possession laws can result in prison sentences. Offenders can face up to three years in jail and fines totaling $10,000 for possession of more than two ounces. Similar charges exist for giving cannabis to a minor and underage consumption as well. However, possession of less than two ounces of flower, 10 grams of “hashish” or 3 mature adult marijuana plants has been decriminalized.

Will insurance pay for my medical marijuana?

No, Vermont medical marijuana laws do not require health care providers, employers or Medicaid to cover reimbursement.

Answers to frequently asked questions about marijuana in Vermont. The PotGuide FAQ has where to buy weed, how much marijuana can you buy, and where it's legal to consume cannabis in Vermont, including Montpelier and Burlington.