Decriminalization passed in the Vermont House

A bill to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana cleared its first major hurdle Tuesday, as lawmakers favored the measure by a 2-1 margin.

The House voted 92-49 to approve the bill, which would remove criminal penalties for possession of an ounce or less of marijuana.

Under the bill’s provisions, someone caught with less than an ounce of pot would face a civil fine-similar to a speeding ticket-of up to $300.

The bill’s lead sponsor Rep. Chris Pearson, P-Burlington, said he is optimistic that the measure will ultimately become law.

“It’s considered to be a bill that will go all the way,” he said.

The Senate is expected to take up the bill in the near future.