Chip is an incredibly thoughtful legislator and respected by his colleagues.
What had been less clear until Tuesday’s vote was whether the House would support a scaled-back measure to remove criminal penalties for cultivation and possession of two pot plants. That went down by a 77-70 vote as Tuesday afternoon turned to evening.
Vermont has already decriminalized possession of up to an ounce of marijuana. Supporters said removing criminal penalties for home-growing would allow users to avoid buying from drug dealers.
“I think it’s time we recognize the present system does put people into contact with some kind of criminal element,” said Rep. Chip Conquest (D-Newbury), lead sponsor of the decriminalization measure.
House members peppered Conquest with questions. If lawmakers decriminalize two plants and a person harvests 16 ounces, is he or she in violation of the law, asked Rep. Cynthia Browning (D-Arlington).
Not as long as the marijuana is kept in a secure place, Conquest said.