Vermont Would Decriminalize Drugs Under New Bill

MJ moment

Vermont lawmakers have unveiled legislation to end criminal penalties around small amounts of illegal drugs in the state. Under a bill introduced on Wednesday, possession and dispensation of personal-use amounts of drugs would instead be subject to a fine of up to $50 or a referral to a substance use screening and health service. The bill, H.422, is sponsored by Reps. Selene Colburn (P) and Logan Nicoll (D), along with 12 additional lawmakers. Backers frame the proposal as a move toward a public health approach to drug use disorders and overdose deaths. “Vermont has been a leader in some ways with our approach to substance use disorder treatment and substance misuse prevention, but we continue to lose too many Vermonters to substances every year,” Nicoll told Marijuana Moment in an email. “And we continue to treat drug abusers as criminals when they should just be patients.” A separate bill to remove criminal penalties around plant- and fungi-based substances, such as psilocybin, mescaline, ibogaine and DMT, was introduced last month by Rep. Brian Cina (P/D). That measure, H.309, has been referred to the House Judiciary Committee, which hasn’t yet scheduled a hearing. The new broader bill would establish a Drug Use Standards Advisory Board within the state Health Department, which would be responsible for setting “personal use dosage” and “personal use supply” amounts of regulated drugs. People caught with less than the personal use supply—defined as the amount “commonly possessed for consumption by an individual for any therapeutic, medicinal, or recreational use”—would be subject to a civil penalty of no more than $50. A person could avoid the fine by instead agreeing to participate in a screening for substance use disorder, which would refer them to treatment or other services if necessary. Someone previously diagnosed with substance use disorder could avoid…

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Source : Vermont Would Decriminalize Drugs Under New Bill

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