Is weed legal in Vermont?

Heady Vermont Staff 10 Nov 2020

Is weed legal in Vermont?

Yes, both adult-use and medical cannabis are legal in Vermont, though recreational sales are not yet operational.

Legislation history

Vermont legalized cannabis for medicinal use in 2004 when the state legislature passed S 76, An Act Relating to the Medical Use of Marijuana. The governor didn’t sign it, but the bill passed anyway, removing legal possession and cultivation penalties for patients and setting up the Vermont Marijuana Registry. In the intervening years, additional bills have expanded the list of qualifying conditions and the types of healthcare professionals allowed to recommend cannabis for their patients.

In January 2018, Gov. Phil Scott signed H. 511, eliminating penalties for possessing small amounts of cannabis for adults 21 years of age and older. The law, which became Act 86, legalized up to 1 ounce (28 grams), two mature plants, and four immature plants for each adult.

In 2020, the state legalized recreational sales when Gov. Phil Scott allowed Vermont S. 54, which was introduced in 2019, to pass without his signature. The law stipulated that all localities must opt-in to having adult-use retail establishments, special consideration be given to small-scale cultivators and businesses owned by people of color and women, and a Cannabis Control Board (CCB) and advisory board be set up.

The Department of Public Safety’s Vermont Marijuana Registry (VMR) is responsible for issuing medical cannabis cards to Vermont patients with qualifying conditions and making sure registered dispensaries are compliant with state laws. S. 54 required that control move to the CCB on March 1, 2022.

Where is it safe to purchase weed in Vermont?

Once recreational cannabis retail outlets open (it’s planned for 2022) adults over 21 will be able to purchase cannabis in Vermont. They will be limited to flower that doesn’t have more than 30% THC and concentrates with no more than 60% THC. Edibles can have up to 50 milligrams of THC with servings of no more than 5 milligrams of THC each. Unflavored vape pen cartridges are the only oil allowed.

Registered patients and caregivers with medical marijuana cards can buy cannabis from one of the dispensaries sanctioned by the VMR. Medical sales are tax-exempt. THC limits imposed on recreational cannabis do not apply to medical marijuana.

Patients can only buy from their designated dispensary. They are limited to one chosen dispensary at a time and can only change the designation once every 30 days for a $25 fee.

A patient can assign a caregiver to buy and deliver medical cannabis if the patient is unable to obtain marijuana on his or her own. Delivery services are also available.

Finding licensed dispensaries in Vermont

Medical marijuana card holders can find licensed dispensaries in Vermont and search by cities including Burlington, Montpelier, and Plattsburgh. Many dispensaries in Vermont offer delivery and curbside pickup services in addition to storefront sales.

Where is it safe to consume cannabis?

Cannabis cannot be consumed outside of a private space or within public view. The governor’s Marijuana Advisory Commission is recommending that Vermont’s smoke-free laws extend to cannabis. Consumption in a public place can result in a $100 fine for the first offense.

Driving under the influence of marijuana carries severe penalties. First-time offenders could face up to two years in prison and a $750 fine. Those with more than four convictions could face a decade in prison and $5,000 in fines. Consuming cannabis while driving, which extends to second-hand smoke if anyone in the car is smoking, can result in a $500 fine, even for registered patients. An open container of marijuana in a car can result in a $200 fine.

Possessing cannabis

Adults 21 and older who are not patients can possess up to 1 ounce (28 grams) of marijuana or 5 grams of hashish, and grow a maximum of two mature marijuana plants or four immature marijuana plants. Marijuana harvested from home cultivation does not count towards the 1 ounce total.

A registered medical marijuana patient and caregiver can collectively possess up to 2 ounces (57 grams) of marijuana, two mature marijuana plants, and seven immature cannabis plants. Marijuana harvested from home cultivation does not count towards the 1 ounce total. Patients may only transport cannabis if the product is in a locked container out of public view.

Medical marijuana registry

Patients with a qualifying condition need to visit the VMR to obtain a registry ID card.

Qualifying conditions

  • Cachexia, or wasting syndrome
  • Cancer
  • Chronic pain
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Epilepsy, or other seizures
  • Glaucoma
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Severe nausea

Patient qualifications

To register for a card, patients need to submit a completed application to the Vermont Marijuana Registry along with the following:

  1. A valid Vermont driver’s license or Vermont ID card to establish proof of residency
  2. A digital, color photograph
  3. The name, address, date of birth, and phone number of a designated caregiver, if needed (patients younger than 18 may have up to two adults as registered caregivers)
  4. Information about the patient’s designated dispensary or whether the patient chooses to cultivate his or her own cannabis (cultivators must provide the address of a secure, indoor cultivation location)
  5. A Qualifying Condition Verification Form completed by a healthcare professional
  6. A $50 non-refundable fee for the patient and an additional $50 caregiver fee, if needed


A registered patient may assign a caregiver to help obtain, cultivate, and administer medical cannabis. Registered caregivers must be at least 21 years old and meet all eligibility requirements.

Caregiver qualifications

To obtain a medical card, caregivers must complete the caregiver portion of a patient application to the VMR. Or they can submit a Registered Caregiver Application if a previously registered patient is assigning a caregiver.

Other requirements include:

  1. A valid Vermont driver’s license or Vermont ID card to establish proof of residency
  2. A criminal background check (applicants will be rejected if they have been convicted of a drug-related offense or a violent felony)
  3. A $50 non-refundable fee


State-sanctioned dispensaries will only sell cannabis to Vermont residents with VMR ID cards. Vermont’s program does not accommodate out-of-state patients.

Lab testing

Medical cannabis products from registered dispensaries may be subject to testing.

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