Getting a Medical Card in Vermont

Updated on November 19, 2021.  Medical content reviewed by Dr. Joseph Rosado, MD, M.B.A, Chief Medical Officer

Getting a Medical Card in VT

The first step is to make sure that you have one or more of the qualifying health conditions required to get your Vermont medical card. You must have a recent written diagnosis of the condition from a primary care provider (PCP). 

The next step is to schedule an appointment with a Vermont doctor that specializes in medical cannabis health reviews. The doctor will review your health history, and other information like your current prescription medications. The physician will determine if medical marijuana could be a benefit to help with your symptoms. And also decide if there are any safety concerns about doctor-supervised cannabis use. 

If the doctor approves your request, the physician will upload the required information to your patient profile to the Vermont Marijuana Registry (VMR). You will then be required to finish the registration process, upload additional documents including two different types of proof of residency in VT.

Patients in Vermont who are approved for medical cannabis use will receive a medical card in the mail. It can take up to thirty days to arrive. Once you have your Vermont medical card, you can visit a dispensary. You will still need to provide a valid government-issued photo ID with your medical card to enter a medical dispensary. 

Right now, the state of Vermont does not have any reciprocity agreements with other states that have legalized marijuana. So, if you have a Vermont medical card, you will not be able to use it if you travel to another state. Some states do allow visitors to register for a thirty-day temporary card. This provides legal protection to patients and permission to visit a medical cannabis dispensary. 

Medical Marijuana in VT as of Summer 2021

Licenses for adult-use dispensaries will begin in 2021. Both medical and recreational marijuana is legalized in Vermont. The first dispensaries to serve non-medical cardholders by October of 2022. 

The Vermont Cannabis Control Board will be responsible for issuing licenses for adult-use dispensaries. But before new licenses are issued, medical cannabis dispensaries will be permitted to sell to adult-use customers at locations across the state. 

Conditions

In order to apply for a Vermont medical card, patients must have one or more than one of the qualifying health conditions. A qualifying health condition is a list of diagnoses or symptoms that the state has approved. 

The qualifying health conditions to get a Vermont medical marijuana card in 2021 are:

  • Chronic pain
  • Cancer
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Seizure disorders, including Epilepsy
  • Cachexia (also known as wasting disease)
  • Glaucoma
  • Positive status for HIV or AIDS
  • Multiple sclerosis (MS)
  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • PTSD 
  • Severe or intractable nausea

Patients must have proof of the qualifying diagnosis before scheduling an appointment for their medical card health evaluation. If you were diagnosed with your condition a long time ago, you might need to have an updated diagnosis provided on your file by your primary care physician (PCP).

Caregiver Information

Minors or adult patients who require assistance with activities of daily living can access legal cannabis in Vermont. They must register a caregiver, someone authorized to assist in buying and sometimes administering medical marijuana. 

There are a number of eligibility requirements before you can become a caregiver for a patient in Vermont. Caregivers must be twenty-one (21) years of age or older. They must not have a criminal record. A caregiver has to apply and submit the Registered Caregiver Application form. 

Caregivers are required to pay a $50 fee for each application. If the caregiver application is denied, the family or guardian has a right to appeal. The Notice of Appeal form must be submitted within seven days after the notice of denial is received. 

FAQs

What medical marijuana is available in Vermont?

Both medical cannabis and adult-use are now legalized in Vermont. Patients with a medical card or adults over the age of 21-years can visit a dispensary to purchase legal cannabis products. 

Vermont residents will be able to buy whole cannabis flower with a maximum potency of 30% THC. Concentrates will also be available in dispensaries, with a maximum potency of 60% THC. 

Edibles have been legalized in Vermont as long as the serving size is no more than 5 mg of THC. Cannabis oils are also available in vape cartridges, but flavored vape oils are illegal in the state after VT Bill H0141 was passed to ban flavored tobacco and cannabis products. 

Where do you get medical marijuanas in Vermont?

Recreational dispensaries for adults 21 years of age or older will not be open in Vermont until October 2022. However, medical dispensaries are already established in Vermont. 

Patients with a medical card can visit, get expert suggestions on cannabis strains and intake methods, and more at a licensed medical dispensary. 

Setting up a patient profile with the dispensary can also help you track what strains you have tried and how well they worked to help with your symptoms. That is one reason why some patients with a medical card prefer to stick to one dispensary.

Who can get medical marijuana in VT?

Patients with a qualifying health condition who are over the age of eighteen (18) years can apply for a medical card. Adults living in Vermont who are over 18 do not require the consent of a parent or guardian to apply for a medical card.

How do you get a medical card in VT?

Getting a medical marijuana card in Vermont requires a few steps. First, you have to check that you have one of the accepted qualifying health conditions. 

Next, you have to schedule a consultation with a physician. The doctor will review your health history and current symptoms, medications, and more. If the physician agrees that cannabis can be a safe and beneficial therapeutic option, the doctor will provide certification. 

Patients are then required to apply for registration online. There is a $50 fee for the application. Caregivers are also required to pay a $50 fee. To renew the Vermont medical card, another $50 per year is required. 

When did medical marijuana in Vermont become legal?

Medical marijuana in Vermont was legalized in 2004, with Senate Act S76, “An Act Relating to the Medical Use of Marijuana.” After amendments, it became Act 86, and it legalized up to 1 ounce or 28 grams of plants and up to four immature places for each adult in the home over the age of 21 years. 

What’s Coming Up?

Vermont Governor Phil Scott signed an important expungement bill in June of 2021. The Bill decriminalizes the possession of marijuana and increases the amount of cannabis someone could safely possess without breaking the law. Possessing up to twice the legal limit for adults in Vermont may not result in a criminal charge. 

The fines escalate depending on whether it is a first-time offense. And only for charges relating to possession of cannabis that does not involve distribution or sale, firearms, or a violent crime. 

  • A first offense fine of $100 for Vermont residents charged with possession of up to two ounces of cannabis, 10 grams of hashish, eight seedlings, and four mature cannabis plants. 
  • A second-offense fine of $200.
  • A third-offense fine of $500.

The S. 234 Bill also provides an automatic expungement of all cannabis possession legal offenses. The decriminalization of minor cannabis possession charges (for personal use) went into effect on January 1, 2021. Adults with pending or prior possession charges can now apply for expungement. 

The History of Medical Marijuana in Vermont

Like most states, the legalization of medical marijuana took decades to achieve. And access to doctor-supervised cannabis in Vermont faced many opponents. Here are some key points in history showing the progress of cannabis legalization in Vermont: 

1947— The Uniform Narcotic Drug Act is adopted by the Vermont legislature. People who violate the law and are found to be in possession of any controlled substance face a prison sentence of one to five years. 

Source Web 2021: legislature.vermont.gov

1950s—Vermont lawmakers supported federal prohibition acts. That included the adoption of The Boggs Act in 1951 and The Narcotics Control Act in 1956. 

Source Web 2021: 

1967— Vermont lowers the charge for simple possession of cannabis to a minor misdemeanor with a maximum sentence of six months imprisonment. By the year 1972, there were only seven (7) states that charged citizens with a felony offense for simple (personal use) possession of cannabis. Despite President Nixon’s declaration of a “War on Drugs” in 1970.

Source Web 2021: legislature.vermont.gov

1978—Vermont makes a first attempt at decriminalizing cannabis with H.669. Lawmakers state “the purpose of this act is to ensure that the many people of Vermont who [use marijuana] are not subject to unduly harsh sanctions.”

Source Web 2021: legislature.vermont.gov

1981—The Vermont Cannabis Therapeutic Research Program was launched within the Department of Health (DOH) in 18 V.S.A. § 4471 legislation. It makes Vermont DOH the only legal distributor of cannabis for physicians in the program. Direct distribution to the patient only happens if a physician insists on it for patients with special needs. Cannabis is also approved for use by patients diagnosed with cancer. 

Source Web 2021: casetext.com

2001—The House of Representatives in Vermont passes a bill that amends and lightens penalties for patients charged with cultivation or possession of cannabis. It dies in the Judiciary. The Medical Marijuana Study Committee is created and provides a report saying that cannabis can benefit some patients. 

Source Web 2021: medicalmarijuana.vermont.gov

2011—Legislation is enacted in Vermont that allows four medical cannabis dispensaries to open. However, the dispensaries are capped at 1,000 registered patients. They are not permitted to serve any additional patients. But by 2014, the state had eliminated the patient cap, authorized cannabis delivery for patients, and allowed naturopaths to provide cannabis card health evaluations.

Source Web 2021: healthvermont.gov

The University of Vermont (Larner College of Medicine) was the first medical school to provide a non-credit certificate program in medicinal cannabis.

 

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Vermont Medical Marijuana Program Contact Details

Department of Public Safety
Vermont Marijuana Registry
45 State Drive
Waterbury, VT 05671-1300
Phone: (802) 241-5115
Fax: (802) 241-5230
EmailDPS.MJRegistry@vermont.gov
WebsiteVermont Marijuana Registry Program

 

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