Recent scientific research strongly suggests that using marijuana may have adverse effects on thinking, judgment, and physical and mental health. Short-term effects may include: anxiety and panic, impaired attention, memory, and ability to do things that require concentration while intoxicated. Long-term effects include: chronic bronchitis, lung impairment, increased risks of cancers of the digestive tract, marijuana dependence, attention and memory impairments.
YSASP is a program that was designed by the Vermont legislature to process violations of the civil underage drinking law as well as marijuana possession of less than 1 ounce. Those minors age 16 to 20 were caught in possession of alcohol or marijuana are issued a notice of violation, which stipulates they call the Diversion office within 15 days to register for YSASP. The program is voluntary, but the alternative to YSASP is an automatic $300 fine and a 90 day suspension of the privilege to drive in Vermont and all states with the reciprocity agreement. In YSASP, they must agree to complete a substance abuse assessment and any treatment recommendations, as well as educational and reflective tasks aimed at reducing the likelihood of a repeat violation.
Within 15 days of being cited for underage procurement, possession or consumption of alcohol and/or marijuana possession by a person under 21 years of age, one ounce or less, you must contact the court diversion board in the county in which you were cited to register to complete the Youth Substance Abuse Safety Program (YSASP). Each individual is interviewed and conditions appropriate to the specific situation are assigned. These include, but may not be limited to, substance abuse screening, education, research, report writing based on video viewing or reading - among many other possible conditions.
Once all the assigned conditions have been completed, the Vermont Judicial Bureau is notified of satisfactory completion and the citation is voided. The program is funded by participation fees, which may vary from county to county, and state or local funds. Other expenses may include substance abuse screening or participation in related alcohol education/awareness programs.
Failure to register within 15 days of being cited will result in the citation being issued to the Vermont Judicial Bureau, followed by the the loss of your privilege to drive a motor vehicle for a term of 90 days, as well as a fine of $300.00, plus license reinstatement fees.
A Note to Parents: Underage drinking is a serious and pervasive problem in Vermont. Effective curtailment and prevention of underage drinking requires a coordinated effort involving the judicial system, schools, law enforcement, businesses, health care workers, prevention leaders, policy makers and parents. Marijuana is considered by some to be a gateway drug, that is, use of marijuana leads to subsequent use of other drugs.
A Note to Minors: If you've received a citation for a violation of 7 VSA 656 (minors misrepresenting age, procuring, possession or consuming alcoholic beverages) and/or 18 VSA 4230b (marijuana possession by a person under 21 years of age, one ounce or less) the legislature has decriminalized the offense to a civil violation, the compliance with which will enable you to retain your driver's license and avoid a substantial fine and a potential adverse effect on your insurance premiums.