Despite its name, hippie reputation and liberal spirit, Vermont hasn’t always been kind to pot smokers. Now, as the state moves to legalize weed beyond medical use, those punished in the past for marijuana misdemeanors are seeking forgiveness.
Effective July 1, Vermont is the ninth state, along with Washington, D.C., to legalize recreational marijuana. It will not set up a system to tax or regulate production, however, adults can possess an ounce of marijuana, two mature plants and four immature plants.
The law also brings an opportunity for those convicted of marijuana transgressions to have them removed from their records.
Past convictions have led to difficulty finding housing or a job. Some were turned away when they applied for a nursing license or federal student loans, attorneys say. Some can’t get into neighboring Canada.
So prosecutors across the state are doing what they can to help — just as in many other places that have legalized marijuana, with varying degrees of difficulty.