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MONTPELIER

Vt. House votes to decriminalize marijuana

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The Vermont House has given final approval to a bill that would remove criminal penalties for possession of up to an ounce of marijuana. The bill passed Tuesday on a vote of 92 to 49, after being given preliminary approval Friday. Instead of a criminal penalty, those caught with up to an ounce of marijuana would face a civil fine, like a traffic ticket, of up to $300. It also seeks to reduce the chances that anyone caught with up to 2 ounces would have a permanent criminal record, and defines a new crime of driving while smoking marijuana. Possession on school property by someone 21 or older would still be a crime. The Senate Judiciary Committee chairman, Richard Sears, said he thinks the bill will get similar support in the Senate.

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