The Status of Cannabis Legalization in VT
Vermont became the ninth state to legalize recreational cannabis on January 22, 2018. The Vermont Legislature became the first in the US to legalize recreational marijuana without the use of a ballot initiative.
The Vermont Marijuana Registry (VMR) was established by the Department of Public Safety (DPS) to oversee the rules and regulations that govern the medical cannabis program. SB 76 sets out certain parameters used by the VMR for qualifying patients and caregivers to receive access to medical cannabis.
Only patients and caregivers in the registry, who have medical marijuana ID cards can purchase medical cannabis from VMR-licensed dispensaries. Patients may only obtain cannabis from their designated dispensary, and may only designate one (1) dispensary at a time. Patients may change their designated dispensary only once in a 90-day period. There are five (5) state-licensed dispensaries; a sixth may be added when the program includes more than 7,000 patients.
Patients in the registry are authorized to purchase and consume medical cannabis if they meet certain requirements for eligibility. To become a registered medical marijuana patient, a person must be diagnosed with a debilitating medical condition, and receive a recommendation by a health care professional in the course of an established healthcare professional-patient relationship.
Though Vermont legalized the drug in 2018, legislators have been battling how to tax and regulate the legal cannabis industry.
According to the Bennington Banner, the holdup may have an end in sight, reporting in September 2020 that a compromise committee worked out the kinks in the bill, specifically roadside testing, seatbelt laws, and the amount of tax. Based on the agreement, there will be a 14% excise tax on cannabis products, some of which will fund substance abuse prevention.
Until then, the Green Mountain State provides average medicinal cannabis to 5,209 registered patients, according to Americans for Safe Access (ASA), which gives them an overall C grade. Though the Washington-based organization reports Vermont’s effort to make patient access easier with curbside pickup and delivery during COVID-19, the state could ideally do much more.
Qualifying Conditions in Vermont
Vermont has a short list of qualifying conditions for patients that, according to the “must be diagnosed with a qualifying debilitating medical condition” that include:https://www.veriheal.com/conditions/cancer/
Along with having a qualifying condition, a patient must prove that they are a Vermont resident with a current driver’s license or state identification card. The approved patient must also pay a $50 annual non-refundable medical cannabis card registration fee.
A designated caregiver must be at least 21-years-old to assist a state-registered medical cannabis patient. Additionally, the caregiver must undergo a criminal background check and prove they are a Vermont resident by providing a valid driver’s license or a state identification card. A registered patient under the age of 18 is permitted to have caregivers, who can purchase and dispense prescribed medical cannabis to them.
Possession and Cultivation
Vermont allows patients or their caregivers to possess up to two ounces of cannabis flower or two mature plants and seven immature shrubs. Vermont also mandates that patients designate a specific dispensary to purchase medical cannabis from. Patients and caregivers are also allowed to cultivate their cannabis on their respective properties as long as it is not in public view. Clones and seeds to grow cannabis are sold at dispensaries.
- Complete and submit the patient registry application form to the VMR.
- Submit a valid Vermont driver’s license or Vermont identification card to establish proof of residency.
- Submit a digital, color photograph of yourself.
- Designate a dispensary and caregivers, if applicable. A registered patient who is younger than 18 is required to have one (1) registered adult caregiver, and may designate an additional registered adult caregivers.
- Provide the physical address and specific location of the enclosed facility for a patient’s personal cultivation. Registered patients may not cultivate cannabis if they designate a dispensary.
- Provide a Qualifying Condition Verification Form that has been completed by a health care professional. The statement must show evidence that a bona fide health care professional-patient relationship exists, or that the debilitating medical condition is of recent onset, and the patient has not had a previous health care professional who is able to verify the nature of the disease and its symptoms.
- Pay a $50 non-refundable fee for a registry identification card.
Frequently Asked Questions
It’s simple. Use the form on the top of this page to begin the process, and Veriheal will begin setting you up with a physician who can evaluate your health and confirm your condition.
The cost for the medical marijuana evaluation and approval with Veriheal is $199, with a full guarantee if not approved. Additionally, the state of Vermont charges an annual registration fee of $50 when approved.
Yes. To be approved for a medical cannabis license in Vermont an applicant must provide either a state license or identification card to prove their residency.