Consequences of Getting a Medical Card in Vermont

  1. Vermont Cannabis
  2. Vermont Medical Marijuana Card
  3. Consequences of Having a MMJ Card in Vermont

Apply For Vermont Medical Marijuana Card Online

Benefits of Having a Medical Marijuana Card in Vermont

Possessing a Vermont medical marijuana card offers numerous benefits for cardholders. These benefits include:

Legal Protection

Yes, a Vermont medical cannabis card offers legal protection to medical marijuana cardholders in the state. Medical marijuana cardholders in Vermont are protected from criminal prosecution for possessing, purchasing or using medical marijuana in accordance with state law. S 76, the law legalizing medical marijuana in Vermont states that medical cannabis cardholders under the state’s medical cannabis program are not subject to criminal prosecution, civil penalties, or other enforcement action for engaging in the use, possession, or transfer of medical marijuana in accordance with state law.

This means that medical marijuana cardholders cannot be arrested or charged with a crime for possessing, purchasing, or using medical marijuana within the approved limits. Still, it is recommended that MMJ cardholders have their medical cannabis cards when in possession of medical cannabis outside their homes.

Vermont penalizes the possession of more than 1 ounce of cannabis without an MMJ card with a $100 fine for a first offense, $200 for the second offense, and $500 for a third or subsequent offense.

Lower Prices

If you have a Vermont medical cannabis card, you can save up to 20% on cannabis purchases. This is a significant saving, especially for someone on a tight budget. If you do not have a medical cannabis card in the state but want to purchase cannabis, the prices of cannabis purchases will include a 14% excise tax and another 6% sales tax.

Higher Purchase and/or Possession Limits

A Vermont medical cannabis card allows the cardholder to possess higher cannabis limits than non-cardholders. If you are a cardholder, you can possess up to 2 ounces of usable cannabis per time. A non-cardholder can possess no more than 1 ounce of cannabis.

Higher Cultivation Limits

Another advantage to having a Vermont medical cannabis card is the higher cultivation limit afforded to cardholders compared to non-cardholders. With a Vermont medical cannabis card, you can grow up to 9 marijuana plants. Without the card, an individual may cultivate no more than 6 marijuana plants. Note that whether an individual has a Vermont medical cannabis card or not, no more than 2 marijuana plants out of the stipulated limits may be mature.

Access for Minors

A Vermont medical cannabis card makes cannabis accessible to minors. If you are 18 or older, you can apply for and obtain a Vermont medical cannabis card by yourself. If you are not yet 18, you can designate a caregiver who can apply for and obtain a Vermont MMJ card. The caregiver can purchase and administer medical cannabis on your behalf. If you do not have a Vermont medical cannabis card or do not qualify to participate in the Vermont medical cannabis program, you must at least be 21 to be eligible for the legal use of marijuana in Vermont.

Reciprocity

Medical marijuana reciprocity provisions in the United States mean that non-residents or out-of-state patients with medical cannabis cards or authorizations from their home states can purchase or access cannabis in other states.

Not all states offer medical marijuana reciprocity under their medical cannabis program. Hence, you cannot use a Vermont medical cannabis card to purchase medical cannabis in all states in the United States. However, in jurisdictions where reciprocity is available, such as Puerto Rico, Oklahoma, Maine, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Rhode Island, and Utah, you may be able to use Vermont medical cannabis to purchase medical cannabis from authorized dispensaries.

Employment Protections

Vermont laws allow employers to prohibit marijuana in the workplace and ban marijuana employees from working while under the influence of cannabis. However, medical cannabis may have other implications for employers related to disability protections for employees.

While Vermont's medical cannabis laws do not require employers to permit cannabis use or possession in workplaces, they do not allow employers to discriminate against disabled employees or applicants who use medical cannabis outside of work to treat their disability. Since Vermont issues medical cannabis cards only to persons certified as having a debilitating medical condition, in many instances, such conditions count as legally protected disabilities under Vermont’s Fair Employment Practices Act (VFEPA).

Vermont law allows employers to drug test employees, but employers may only do so in very limited circumstances. For instance, an employer may not require an applicant for employment to submit to a drug test unless a conditional employment offer has been extended to the applicant and the applicant is made aware of the drugs to be tested and the testing procedures. Also, unless federal law expressly requires it, random drug tests are not permitted. Employees may only undergo drug tests under specific circumstances listed in the Vermont marijuana laws in the workplace guidance document.

If an employee who is a medical cannabis cardholder believes an employer has discriminated against them based on their disability, the employee may pursue a private court action seeking damages or a court order requiring that the discrimination cease immediately. Employees may also seek damages, back pay and other benefits, reinstatement, attorney’s fees, and other appropriate relief.

Downsides of Getting a Medical Marijuana Card in Vermont

Individuals considering obtaining a Vermont medical cannabis card should consider the following drawbacks before getting the card:

Firearm Prohibition

Possessing firearms may be out of reach for medical cannabis cardholders in Vermont despite state law legalizing medical cannabis. While the state has not stipulated that MMJ cardholders cannot possess firearms, the federal Gun Control Act makes firearms possession illegal for anyone considered an unlawful user under federal law. Since marijuana remains classified as a Schedule I controlled drug at the federal level, anyone using marijuana, including for medical purposes, is considered an unlawful user.

Also, anyone visiting a federal firearms licensee (FFL) in Vermont to buy a gun must complete the ATF Form 4473, which asks whether the prospective buyer is an unlawful marijuana user. Vermont MMJ cardholder who claims not to be an unlawful marijuana user risks perjury, which is punishable with up to $250,000 in fines and 10 years in jail. Vermont medical marijuana who truthfully identify themselves as medical marijuana users will be denied the right to purchase guns.

Driving Restrictions

While possessing a Vermont medical marijuana card offers several benefits, there is also the potential for arrest for marijuana DUI, which can be a significant downside. Despite the legal protections afforded to medical marijuana cardholders, individuals who have medical cannabis cards and subsequently drive under the influence may still be arrested and charged with DUI.

Also, commercial driver licenses (CDLs) are not issued to medical marijuana users due to federal prohibition on cannabis. Although Vermont driver’s licenses are administered under state law, commercial driver licenses are subject to federal laws. This restriction on obtaining a CDL may be a downside to obtaining a Vermont medical cannabis card for individuals looking to drive commercial motor vehicles in the state.

Annual Renewal

While a Vermont medical marijuana card offers numerous benefits, maintaining the card requires an annual renewal, as each medical cannabis card in Vermont is only valid for 1 year. Before commencing the renewal process online, an MMJ cardholder must obtain medical cannabis recertification from a qualified healthcare provider.

This recertification and renewal process requires effort and money and may be a drawback to having a Vermont MMJ card. To initiate medical cannabis recertification, an MMJ cardholder must schedule an appointment with their physician in person or via telemedicine to review their medical condition, current treatment plan, and the effectiveness of medical cannabis in treating their qualifying condition. The cardholder may also need to provide relevant information to support their continued use of medical marijuana. This appointment usually attracts a consultation fee, which may be as high as $150.

Once recertified, patients must apply for renewal of their medical marijuana card. The renewal process is similar to the initial MMJ card application process. The State of Vermont charges $50 for an MMJ card renewal. This fee is not covered by insurance. The renewal process may also take several weeks, and MMJ cardholders may experience disruptions in access to medical marijuana if their card expires before they receive the renewed card.

Federal Prohibitions

One significant drawback to having a Vermont medical cannabis card is the inability to apply for federal employment. This restriction stems from federal law, which prohibits the use of marijuana, including medical marijuana, by federal employees. The Controlled Substances Act (CSA) classifies marijuana as a Schedule I controlled substance with no accepted medical use. This federal prohibition extends to federal employees, regardless of their state's laws. As a result, individuals with medical marijuana cards from Vermont cannot apply for federal jobs or continue working for the federal government if they use marijuana.

Another drawback of having a Vermont medical marijuana card is the inability to use or grow marijuana in federally subsidized housing. This restriction is based on the fact that marijuana operations on federal properties are illegal. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) oversees federally funded housing, and its policy prohibits marijuana use, possession, sale, transfer, and cultivation on such properties in Vermont.

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