Medical marijuana has been legal in Vermont since 2004, but state lawmakers are now considering a bill that would classify the smell of cannabis a “public nuisance,” which would make activities which create that smell a ticketable offense, as reported by the Burlington Free Press.
More than making public consumption a ticketable offense, the bill would also restrict the rights of patients to use marijuana, giving local authorities additional freedom to handle complaints of cannabis consumption on private property as they see fit.
As the law stands now, landlords in Vermont can already prohibit their tenants from consuming cannabis, and must issue written permission to tenants before they can grow their own marijuana plants.
It’s unclear why there is a need for such a law now, after 14 years of MMJ legalization. “I feel, as a non-marijuana user, that I should not have somebody else’s use impact my life,” South Burlington Police Chief Trevor Whipple stated, while speaking in support of the proposed measure at the House Committee on Government Operations.
“Arguably, it’s a stronger odor than cigarette smoke,” said Rep. Jim Harrison, R-Chittenden.
However, Whipple admitted that he has never once, in all his years of law enforcement, actually received a complaint about the odor of medical cannabis use. He admitted that his department also receives very few complaints regarding cigarette smoke.
“We might be jumping the gun on this one a little bit,” argued Rep. Cindy Weed, P-Enosburg. “What problem are we trying to solve?”
The bill was introduced by Republican Representatives Scott Beck and Janssen Willhoit and will be voted on in the house Friday. If approved, it will go into effect in July.
Photo via Flickr user dabbyboskeazy