History of CBD and Cannabis: Vermont
The history of marijuana and CBD in the United States is a story on how quickly public opinion can change. Over a twenty year period, efforts to legalize marijuana dramatically accelerated, with medical marijuana now being legal in 33 states (and Washington, D.C.) and recreational marijuana being legal in another 11 states, in addition to Washington, D.C.
Some regions of the country are known for being particularly liberal or conservative, and New England, where Vermont is located, is no exception. Vermont has always been progressive on a variety of issues, including marijuana and CBD laws: Vermont is one of the 11 states in the United States where marijuana is legal for medical and recreational purposes.
Medical Marijuana in Vermont
Medical Marijuana was first legalized in 2003, much earlier than it was in most other states. The bill become law without the signature of Governor James Douglas. At the time, the bill legalized the possession of up to two ounces amounts of marijuana for a very limited set of diseases, including HIV/AIDS, cancer or multiple sclerosis. Patients and their caregivers had to register with the State of Vermont and the marijuana had to be securely stored.
The law was expanded in 2007 – again, without the signature of Governor Douglas. That expansion allowed for patients with debilitating conditions (as opposed to life threatening ones) to receive medical marijuana. It also expanded the amount of marijuana people could receive and reduced associated fees.
Decriminalization in Vermont
Before fully legalizing marijuana, Vermont decriminalized personal possession of less than 1 ounce of marijuana in 2013. The law turned that possession into a civil infraction, subject to a small fine.
Recreational Marijuana in Vermont
While efforts had gone on for years, Vermont’s legislature passed a recreational marijuana in May 2017, becoming the first state legislature to do so. However, Governor Phil Scott vetoed the bill.
An amended version was passed in 2018, and this time, Governor Scott signed the law. However, this legalization is different than in many other states. While the law allowed for limited personal possession of marijuana, it did not create a system to regulate or tax marijuana. As such, the legislation more or less turns a blind eye to marijuana possession, but buying and selling marijuana remains illegal in Vermont. Furthermore, local governments and private entities could still ban local use.
CBD Regulations in Vermont
The passage of the 2018 Farm Bill legalized CBD at the federal level, clearing the way for states to regulate and control the drug as they saw fit. While Vermont has proposed draft rules for hemp growers, as of yet, there seems to be a lack of regulations for CBD retail sellers. However, Vermont’s Department of Taxes has noted that CBD is not medicine. As such, it is subject to the state’s sales tax.