The Vermont Statutes Online
Subchapter 001 : Regulated Drugs(Cite as: 18 V.S.A. § 4230a)
§ 4230a. Cannabis possession by a person 21 years of age or older
(a)(1) Except as otherwise provided in this section, a person 21 years of age or older who possesses one ounce or less of cannabis or five grams or less of hashish and two mature cannabis plants or fewer or four immature cannabis plants or fewer or who possesses paraphernalia for cannabis use shall not be penalized or sanctioned in any manner by the State or any of its political subdivisions or denied any right or privilege under State law. The one-ounce limit of cannabis or five grams of hashish that may be possessed by a person 21 years of age or older shall not include cannabis cultivated, harvested, and stored in accordance with section 4230e of this title.
(2)(A) A person shall not consume cannabis in a public place. "Public place" has the same meaning as provided by 7 V.S.A. § 831.
(B) A person who violates this subdivision (a)(2) shall be assessed a civil penalty as follows:
(i) not more than $100.00 for a first offense;
(ii) not more than $200.00 for a second offense; and
(iii) not more than $500.00 for a third or subsequent offense.
(b)(1) Cannabis possessed or consumed in violation of State law is contraband pursuant to subsection 4242(d) of this title and subject to seizure and forfeiture.
(2) This section does not:
(A) exempt a person from arrest, citation, or prosecution for being under the influence of cannabis while operating a vehicle of any kind or for consuming cannabis while operating a motor vehicle;
(B) repeal or modify existing laws or policies concerning the operation of vehicles of any kind while under the influence of cannabis or for consuming cannabis while operating a motor vehicle;
(C) limit the authority of primary and secondary schools to impose administrative penalties for the possession of cannabis on school property;
(D) prohibit a municipality from adopting a civil ordinance to provide additional penalties for consumption of cannabis in a public place;
(E) prohibit a landlord from banning possession or use of cannabis in a lease agreement; or
(F) allow an inmate of a correctional facility to possess or use cannabis or to limit the authority of law enforcement, the courts, the Department of Corrections, or the Parole Board to impose penalties on offenders who use cannabis in violation of a court order, conditions of furlough, parole, or rules of a correctional facility.
(c)(1) A law enforcement officer is authorized to detain a person if:
(A) the officer has reasonable grounds to believe the person has violated subsection (a) of this section; and
(B) the person refuses to identify himself or herself satisfactorily to the officer when requested by the officer.
(2) The person may be detained only until the person identifies himself or herself satisfactorily to the officer or is properly identified. If the officer is unable to obtain the identification information, the person shall forthwith be brought before a judge in the Criminal Division of the Superior Court for that purpose. A person who refuses to identify himself or herself to the court on request shall immediately and without service of an order on the person be subject to civil contempt proceedings pursuant to 12 V.S.A. § 122.
(d) Fifty percent of the civil penalties imposed by the Judicial Bureau for violations of this section shall be deposited in the Drug Task Force Special Fund, hereby created to be managed pursuant to 32 V.S.A. chapter 7, subchapter 5, and available to the Department of Public Safety for the funding of law enforcement officers on the Drug Task Force, except for a $12.50 administrative charge for each violation, which shall be deposited in the Court Technology Special Fund, in accordance with 13 V.S.A. § 7252. The remaining 50 percent shall be deposited in the Youth Substance Awareness Safety Program Special Fund, hereby created to be managed pursuant to 32 V.S.A. chapter 7, subchapter 5, and available to the Court Diversion Program for funding of the Youth Substance Awareness Safety Program as required by section 4230b of this title.
(e) Nothing in this section shall be construed to do any of the following:
(1) require an employer to permit or accommodate the use, consumption, possession, transfer, display, transportation, sale, or growing of cannabis in the workplace;
(2) prevent an employer from adopting a policy that prohibits the use of cannabis in the workplace;
(3) create a cause of action against an employer that discharges an employee for violating a policy that restricts or prohibits the use of cannabis by employees; or
(4) prevent an employer from prohibiting or otherwise regulating the use, consumption, possession, transfer, display, transportation, sale, or growing of cannabis on the employer's premises. (Added 2013, No. 76, § 2; amended 2013, No. 95 (Adj. Sess.), § 81, eff. Feb. 25, 2014; 2013, No. 194 (Adj. Sess.), § 13; 2017, No. 86 (Adj. Sess.), § 4; 2019, No. 164 (Adj. Sess.), § 30, eff. Oct. 7, 2020; 2019, No. 167 (Adj. Sess.), § 3, eff. Oct. 7, 2020.)