MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) - A push in the Vermont Senate to lighten penalties for possessing small amounts of marijuana may be going up in smoke.
The Senate on Friday decided to delay action on a bill to improve record keeping on search warrants after debate erupted over attempts to amend the bill with language about marijuana penalties.
Sen. Joe Benning and some allies pushed for making possession of up to an ounce of pot a civil offense similar to a traffic ticket. The Caledonia County Republican argued that such an offense should not give someone a lifelong criminal record.
Sen. Richard Sears countered that the Judiciary Committee, which he chairs, had not had enough time to consider the proposal. Sears, a Bennington Democrat, pushed for lightening marijuana penalties, but not decriminalizing the drug.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)