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It's official! Vermont became the ninth state to legalize the recreational use of marijuana on Monday. The state's Republican governor, Phil Scott, signed House Bill 511 into law after it cleared the state legislature earlier this month. The Green Mountain State joins a growing number of states to remove penalties for possessing small amounts of marijuana. The law takes effect on July 1st.
Yet aspiring cannabis connoisseurs should be wary of jumping into the Vermont "bud" business prematurely. Here are five quick facts to know about the state of the law in Vermont.
1. You Can Smoke It
Vermonters can possess up to one ounce of cannabis under the new law, a limitation that's in line with recent legalizations in Colorado and Washington State. This limit is intended to permit the recreational use of the drug -- but not large scale supply and cultivation.
2. You Can Grow Some of It
The law further removes criminal penalties for having your own marijuana plants. Vermont allows the possession of two mature marijuana plants and four immature plants, enough to permit the green-thumb ganja lovers to keep their own fresh supply at home.
3. But You Can't Sell It
The law does not legalize a state marijuana market, however. The governor previously vetoed legislation legalizing the sale of marijuana, which the state is leaving open to further action at a later date.
4. You Need to Be Old Enough to Drink
Vermont's decriminalization law only applies to people twenty-one years of age and over. Minors (and a great many college students) aren't included. And there are penalties for selling recreational weed to underage persons too.
5. Federal Law Hasn't Changed
If you run into legal issues with marijuana in Vermont or another state, contact a criminal defense lawyer for help.