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BILL AS INTRODUCED 2007-2008

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S.238

Introduced by   Senator White of Windham District and Senator Miller of Chittenden District

Referred to Committee on

Date:

Subject:  Regulated drugs; marijuana

Statement of purpose:  This bill proposes to decriminalize the possession and sale of small amounts of marijuana.  A person who possesses or sells four ounces or less of marijuana would be subject to a civil fine and, potentially, court-ordered diversion.  Possession and sale of larger amounts would continue to be criminal offenses subject to imprisonment.

AN ACT RELATING TO PENALTIES FOR POSSESSION OR SALE OF MARIJUANA

It is hereby enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Vermont:

Sec. 1.  18 V.S.A. § 4230 is amended to read:

§ 4230.  MARIJUANA

(a)  Possession and cultivation.

(1)  A person knowingly and unlawfully possessing marijuana or one or two marijuana plants shall be imprisoned not more than six months or fined not more than $500.00, or both. A person convicted of a second or subsequent offense under this subdivision shall be imprisoned not more than two years or fined not more than $2,000.00, or both.  Upon an adjudication of guilt for a first offense under this subdivision, the court may defer sentencing as provided in section 7041 of Title 13 except that the court may in its discretion defer sentence without the filing of a presentence investigation report and except that sentence may be imposed at any time within two years from and after the date of entry of deferment.  The court may prior to sentencing, order that the defendant submit to a drug assessment screening which may be considered at sentencing in the same manner as a presentence report issued a notice of a civil violation and be subject to a civil penalty of not more than $250.00. 

(2)  A person knowingly and unlawfully possessing marijuana in an amount consisting of one or more preparations, compounds, mixtures, or substances of an aggregate weight of not less than two ounces and not more than four ounces or not less than three and not more than five marijuana plants shall be issued a notice of a civil violation and be subject to a civil penalty of not more than $1,000.00. 

(2)(3)  A person knowingly and unlawfully possessing marijuana in an amount consisting of one or more preparations, compounds, mixtures, or substances, of an aggregate weight of two more than four ounces or more containing any marijuana or knowingly and unlawfully cultivating more than three five plants of marijuana shall be imprisoned not more than three years or fined not more than $10,000.00, or both.

(3)(4)  A person knowingly and unlawfully possessing marijuana in an amount consisting of one or more preparations, compounds, mixtures, or substances, of an aggregate weight of one pound or more containing any marijuana or knowingly and unlawfully cultivating more than ten plants of marijuana shall be imprisoned not more than five years or fined not more than $100,000.00, or both.

(4)(5)  A person knowingly and unlawfully possessing marijuana in an amount consisting of one or more preparations, compounds, mixtures, or substances, of an aggregate weight of ten pounds or more or knowingly and unlawfully cultivating more than 25 plants of marijuana shall be imprisoned not more than 15 years or fined not more than $500,000.00, or both.

(b)  Selling or dispensing.

(1)  A person knowingly and unlawfully selling marijuana shall be imprisoned not more than two years or fined not more than $10,000.00, or both issued a notice of a civil violation and be subject to a civil penalty of not more than $250.00. 

(2)  A person knowingly and unlawfully selling marijuana in an amount consisting of one or more preparations, compounds, mixtures, or substances of an aggregate weight of not less than two ounces and not more than four ounces to any person shall be issued a notice of a civil violation and be subject to a civil penalty of not more than $1,000.00.  

(2)(3)  A person knowingly and unlawfully selling or dispensing marijuana in an amount consisting of one or more preparations, compounds, mixtures, or substances, of an aggregate weight of one-half ounce or more than four ounces containing any marijuana shall be imprisoned not more than five years or fined not more than $100,000.00, or both.

(3)(4)  A person knowingly and unlawfully selling or dispensing marijuana in an amount consisting of one or more preparations, compounds, mixtures, or substances, of an aggregate weight of one pound or more containing any marijuana shall be imprisoned not more than 15 years or fined not more than $500,000.00, or both.

(c)  Trafficking.  A person knowingly and unlawfully possessing marijuana in an amount consisting of one or more preparations, compounds, mixtures, or substances of an aggregate weight of 50 pounds or more containing any marijuana with the intent to sell or dispense the marijuana shall be imprisoned not more than 30 years or fined not more than $1,000,000.00, or both.  There shall be a permissive inference that a person who possesses marijuana in an amount consisting of one or more preparations, compounds, mixtures, or substances of an aggregate weight of 50 pounds or more containing any marijuana intends to sell or dispense the marijuana.


(d)  Under subdivisions (a)(1) and (2) and (b)(1) and (2) of this section:

(1)  An officer’s testimony that a substance tested positively for marijuana by a field test shall create a permissive inference that the substance is marijuana.  

(2)  The hearing officer may order the person to attend an educational program coordinated by court diversion and to be responsible for the reasonable costs of attending such a program.

Sec. 2.  4 V.S.A. § 1102(b)(14) is added to read:

(14)  Violations of 18 V.S.A. § 4230(a)(1), relating to possession of marijuana.



Published by:

The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street
Montpelier, Vermont


www.leg.state.vt.us