For Immediate Release

Organization Profile: 

Dan Riffle, MPP Legislative Analyst – (202) 905-2026 or

Governor Shumlin Signs Bill Adding Dispensaries to Vermont's Medical Marijuana Law

WASHINGTON - Governor Pete Shumlin today signed S. 17, a bill that will authorize up to four dispensaries where registered patients can obtain medical marijuana. Vermont joins Colorado, Maine, New Mexico, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Arizona, and Delaware on the list of states with laws that explicitly allow dispensaries. Washington, D.C. is also in the process of implementing a program that will allow five such facilities in the nation’s capital.

“This is a great day for a lot of patients throughout the state that, until now, have been unsure how to go about obtaining medicine their doctor has recommended,” said Dan Riffle, a legislative analyst with the Marijuana Policy Project. “Governor Shumlin is to be commended for his leadership and compassion, and congratulations to Sen. Jeanette White and the other legislative leaders who shepherded this bill through the legislature.”

Vermont law allows patients or their caregivers to grow their own marijuana, but several patients told legislators that they were unable to do so due to the high cost of equipment or because their medical condition made the task too physically demanding. They were joined by the state’s top law enforcement official, Department of Public Safety Director Keith Flynn, who also testified in support of the measure.

Today’s signing was welcome news to Ian Rhein. Twenty years ago he was shot while intervening in a domestic altercation and the bullet has remained lodged in his back since, causing excruciating pain.

“I’ve always been grateful that my registry card means I’m not a criminal, but until today that card has done nothing to give me relief from constant, everyday pain which is what this program is supposed to be about,” said Rhein. “Finally, with this law, I’ll be able to use the card to obtain the medicine I need.”


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