Vermont’s first medical cannabis law, Senate Bill 76, went into effect July 1, 2004, establishing a registry that provided protections for patients with debilitating medical conditions, including HIV/AIDS, cancer, and multiple sclerosis. At that time, patients or their primary caregivers could legally possess no more than two ounces of usable cannabis and cultivate no more than three plants, of which only one could be mature.
In July 2007, Senate Bill 7 expanded the list of qualifying conditions and in June 2016, the legislature enacted SB 14, which lowered the standard for qualifying patients. Now, Vermont defines a debilitating medical condition as follows:
(A) cancer, multiple sclerosis, positive status for human immunodeficiency virus, acquired immune deficiency syndrome, glaucoma, or the treatment of these conditions, if the disease or the treatment results in severe, persistent, and intractable symptoms; or
(B) a disease, medical condition, or its treatment that is chronic, debilitating, and produces one or more of the following intractable symptoms: cachexia or wasting syndrome; chronic pain; severe nausea; or seizures.
The cultivation quantities allowed were also increased to two mature, seven immature plants, and two ounces of usable marijuana. Licensed physicians in neighboring states are also now allowed to recommend cannabis for Vermont residents.
Vermont allows patients to obtain a registry ID card if their health care professional recommends marijuana for the treatment of a debilitating medical condition, as described above. With this ID, a patient can legally use and cultivate marijuana for medicinal purposes. A patient can also designate a primary caregiver for assistance. Once dispensaries are operating in the state, patients may designate one for accessing medicine but may no longer cultivate cannabis. A registered patient and primary caregiver can together have up to two mature marijuana plants, seven immature plants, and two ounces of usable marijuana. You may also own devices for using marijuana, such as pipes and vaporizers.
In June 2011, Senate Bill 17 authorized up to four state-licensed distribution facilities and allowed physician’s assistants and advance practice registered nurses to write recommendations. Dispensaries opened in spring of 2013. In 2014, the program was expanded with the passage of SB 247, which added delivery program to existing dispensaries to deliver to patients and granted naturopathic physicians the right to recommend medical cannabis. In 2016, SB 14 was passed, which changed the qualifying condition of "severe pain" to less restrictive "chronic pain."
Senate Bill 76 (2004) - established a patient registry that provided legal protections for qualifying patients and their primary caregivers who possess or cultivate small amounts of medical cannabis. Patients and their designated caregivers may possess up to two ounces of usable cannabis.
Senate Bill 7 (2007) - increased the cultivation limits to two mature and seven immature plants and allowed licensed physicians in neighboring states to recommend cannabis for Vermont residents. SB 7 also expanded the qualifying conditions to include any chronic, debilitating condition or its treatment that produces cachexia or wasting syndrome, severe pain, severe nausea, or seizures.
Senate Bill 17 (2011) - authorized up to four state-licensed distribution facilities and allowed physician’s assistants and advance practice registered nurses to write recommendations.
SB 247 (2014) - added delivery program to existing dispensaries to deliver to patients and granted naturopathic physicians the right to recommend medical cannabis.
SB 14 (2016) - changed the qualifying condition of "severe pain" to less restrictive "chronic pain."