What is the Vermont Marijuana Registry Program?
In 2004, the Vermont General Assembly passed S. 76, An Act Relating to Marijuana Use by Persons with Severe Illness. This piece of legislation creates an exemption in state law from criminal penalties for the use of marijuana to alleviate the symptoms or effects of a debilitating medical condition as long as it is done in compliance with 18 V.S.A. Chapter 86. The law also creates a registry of individuals who are eligible to receive this exemption. A person who is eligible to receive this exemption may choose a person who is at least 21 years old to undertake the responsibility for managing their well being with respect to the use of marijuana for symptom relief.
The Vermont General Assembly placed the responsibility for managing this program and creating the registry within the Department of Public Safety. The Department of Public Safety is referring to this program as the Marijuana Registry. The responsibilities for implementation and administration are assigned to the Vermont Criminal Information Center. The Vermont Criminal Information Center is a section within the Department that manages a diverse set of databases and has as one of its missions the protection of the confidentiality and privacy of the personal identifying information contained in these databases.
***Note: This program is for VERMONT RESIDENTS ONLY!***
Who may register with the Marijuana Registry?
The Act creating the Marijuana Registry was designed to protect certain seriously ill and terminally ill patients from state criminal penalties for using marijuana to relieve the symptoms or effects of their debilitating medical condition. Only people with a debilitating medical condition may use marijuana. A “Debilitating medical condition” means:
- Cancer, acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS), positive status for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), multiple sclerosis (MS), glaucoma or the treatment of these conditions if the disease or the treatment results in severe, persistent, and intractable symptoms;
- A disease, medical condition, or its treatment that is chronic, debilitating, and produces one or more of the following intractable symptoms: cachexia or wasting syndrome, chronic pain or nausea or seizures.
The Act also allows a “caregiver” to register and receive the same criminal protections as the registered patient. However, the caregiver is not entitled to use marijuana.
How do I register?
In order to become a “registered patient” with the Vermont Marijuana Registry you must complete the application that is attached or appears at the end of this document if you are reading it on the Registry web site. If you are reading this document on the Registry web site you may download and print a copy of the form. Paper copies of the form may be completed with a typewriter or by hand. The form must be completed in ink.
You will be responsible for completing most of the form. However, part of the form will need to be completed by your health care provider. Your health care provider must be licensed to practice in Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts or New York in order to complete the form.
After all sections of the form are completed you will need to have it notarized. You are also required to provide a digital photograph of yourself for your Marijuana Registry Identification Card. Mail the completed form (faxes are not acceptable) along with the other required items to the Vermont Marijuana Registry at the address provided on the form.
The Registry will process your application within 30 days after your application is complete. If your application is approved you will be notified in writing and receive a Marijuana Registry Identification Card. If your application is denied you will be notified in writing and be advised of your right to appeal the denial.
Registrations are issued for one year and are renewable. A new application packet (forms, fee and photo) must be submitted for each renewal request and it is the patient's responsibility to renew annually with the VMR by submitting the required completed applications/forms with a non-refundable $50 fee.
Please Note: VSP stations are not available to take the photograph that will accompany your application. You may get your picture taken anywhere that offers passport photographs or any private individual with a digital camera can take the picture. The file submitted must be in .jpg format.
Are there any fees associated with the Registry?
Yes. There is a $50 non-refundable fee for each application. There are no provisions to waive the fee, pay the fee in installments, or pay the fee with a credit card. The fee must accompany each new or renewal application. The fee must be paid by check or money order. Checks or money orders should be made out to the Vermont Department of Public Safety. Please note that the fee will not be returned in the event that your application is denied.
Is my confidentiality protected?
Yes. The Department of Public Safety must keep confidential the records of all persons registered with the Registry. An exception to this confidentiality policy is that law enforcement has the authority to verify whether or not a person is a registered patient or caregiver. Queries by law enforcement are only authorized in connection with a specific criminal drug investigation.
What are the responsibilities of the patients health care provider in the application process?
The only responsibilities of a health care provider with regards to the provisions of the Marijuana Registry is to verify that the patient has a debilitating medical condition and whether or not the health care provider has had a “bona fide health care provider-patient relationship” with the applicant. The phrase “Bona fide health care provider-patient relationship” means a treating or consulting relationship of not less than three months duration, in the course of which a health care provider has completed a full assessment of the registered patient’s medical history and current medical condition, including a personal physical examination.
What protections does a health care provider have with regards to the provisions of Title 18 V.S.A. Chapter 86?
A health care provider who has participated in a patient’s application process under the rules, policies or procedures of the Marijuana Registry shall not be subject to arrest, prosecution, or disciplinary action under Chapter 23 of Title 26, penalized in any manner, or denied any right or privilege under state law, except for giving false information, pursuant to Title 18 Section 4474c(f).
Can patients get a prescription for marijuana from their health care provider?
How would I obtain usable marijuana, marijuana plants, or marijuana seeds?
The Marijuana Registry is neither a source for marijuana nor can the Registry provide information to patients on how to obtain marijuana.
What are the possession limits for marijuana, marijuana plants, or marijuana seeds?
“Possession limit” means the amount of marijuana collectively possessed between the registered patient and the patient’s registered caregiver. 18 V.S.A. Chapter 86 specifies the possession limit to be no more than two mature marijuana plants, seven immature plants, and two ounces of usable marijuana.
A marijuana plant shall be considered mature when male or female flower buds are readily observed on the plant by unaided visual examination. Until this sexual differentiation has taken place, a marijuana plant will be considered immature.
If I (or my caregiver) decide to grow marijuana in compliance with T. 18 V.S.A. Chapter 86, are there restrictions I need to keep in mind?
Yes. 18 V.S.A. Chapter 86 specifies that the marijuana possession limit be no more than two mature marijuana plants and seven immature plants. You may only grow marijuana in a single “secure indoor facility.” A “secure indoor facility” means a building or room equipped with locks or other security devices that permit access only by the registered patient or registered caregiver. The location of the “secure indoor facility” must be specified in your Marijuana Registry application.
Are there any restrictions on my use of marijuana?
Yes. You may only legally use marijuana for purposes of symptom relief within the state of Vermont. You may not use marijuana in public, while operating a motorized vehicle, in a workplace, while operating heavy machinery or handling a dangerous instrumentality or in a manner that endangers the health or well-being of another person.
Can I or my registered Caregiver legally transport marijuana?
Yes - but only in Vermont. The transportation of marijuana is subject to the possession limit discussed above and may only be done if the marijuana is secured in a locked container.
How does a person become a registered caregiver?
To be a registered caregiver you must be at least 21 years of age and never have been convicted of a drug-related crime. You must complete the application form for a registered caregiver that is attached to this document or is available at the end of this document if you are reading it on the Registry web site. If you are reading this document on the Registry web site you may download and print a copy of the form. Paper copies of the form may be completed with a typewriter or by hand. The form must be completed in ink.
Persons applying to be a registered caregiver must sign a release form for a criminal record check. You are also required to provide a digital photograph of yourself as well as a $50.00, non-refundable registration fee, for your Marijuana Registry Identification Card. Send the completed forms along with the other required items via US Mail(faxes and electronic filing are not acceptable) to the Vermont Marijuana Registry at the address provided on the form.
What are the responsibilities of a registered caregiver?
A registered caregiver agrees to undertake the responsibility of managing the well-being of a registered patient with respect to the use of “marijuana for symptom relief.” The use of “marijuana for symptom relief” means the acquisition, possession, cultivation, use, transfer, or transportation of marijuana or paraphernalia relating to the administration of marijuana to alleviate the symptoms or effects of a registered patient’s debilitating medical condition which is in compliance with 18 V.S.A. Chapter 8. The definition of “transfer” is limited to the transfer of marijuana between the registered caregiver and the registered patient.