Planning a pot party at your first outdoor concert after Vermont’s marijuana legalization law takes effect July 1? You might not want to haul out that lighter just yet.
“Our outdoor concerts are all non-smoking so pot legalization doesn’t really come into play,” Alex Crothers, co-owner of the Higher Ground music venue, wrote in a recent email to the Burlington Free Press.
The new law will allow people to possess up to one ounce of marijuana and grow up to six marijuana plants, two of which can be mature. Those growing marijuana can store more than an ounce in a secure location indoors, but are only allowed to possess an ounce or less in public.
Retail sale of marijuana remains illegal, though legislators continue to discuss the possibility of a law permitting commercialization.
“Honestly, I don’t think this legislation is going to have much impact in our world,” said Crothers, who through Higher Ground presents concerts at outdoor sites such as Waterfront Park in Burlington and the lawn at the Shelburne Museum. “Once there’s commercialization we may see some issues that we need to contend with.”
Crothers said music promoters from other states report “little negative impact” from marijuana-legalization laws. Representatives of Green Mountain Concert Services, which handles security at Higher Ground’s outdoor events, did not respond to requests for comment.
An attorney who specializes in cannabis law said music promoters who do not allow smoking of tobacco at concerts are likely to apply the same rules to marijuana. “Because it’s being legalized does not give individuals a fundamental right to use it,” said Burlington attorney Tim Fair.
One possible concert venue that could see an increase in marijuana use under the new law is the house concert. Fair warns, though, that marijuana use in a private setting could still be an issue if the concert presenter is charging admission.
The marijuana legalization law “as written is so non-encompassing it doesn’t address a lot of these little nuances,” Fair said. Those selling tickets to house concerts might want to hold off on marijuana use at the performances, he cautioned, “unless you want to be a test case.”