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Vt. decriminalizes possession of small amounts of marijuana

Vermont became the 17th state to get rid of criminal penalties for the possession of small amounts of marijuana when Governor Peter Shumlin signed the measure into law Thursday. The law replaces criminal penalties with civil fines similar to a traffic ticket for possession of up to an ounce of marijuana or five grams of hashish. The law also treats possession of such amounts of marijuana by people under age 21 the same as underage possession of alcohol, including referral to court diversion for a first offense, potential civil penalties or license suspension, and criminal penalties for a third violation.

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