After a lengthy discussion, the Vermont House overwhelmingly voted in favor of H. 200, a bill that would reduce the penalty for possessing up to an ounce of marijuana to a violation, making it a civil rather than criminal offense. Ninety-eight representatives voted in favor, and only 44 were opposed.
The bill is scheduled for more discussion in the House and a final vote next week before it moves to the Senate. However, the vote represents a strong indication of support from the House.
As amended by the House Judiciary Committee and approved in a 9-2 vote, H. 200 would reduce the penalty for possessing up to an ounce to a fine of up to $300. The Senate Judiciary Committee has already begun considering testimony on this issue, and with support from Gov. Peter Shumlin and top law enforcement officials, the bill appears to have a very strong chance of passing into law.