Marijuana legalization in Vermont poses challenge for law enforcement in NY

FILE - This Feb. 1, 2011 file photo shows medical marijuana clone plants at a medical marijuana dispensary in Oakland, Calif. Marijuana still is only legal for medical purposes in California, but that isn't stopping purveyors of pot-infused cupcakes, ice cream, popcorn and other treats from putting on the "Get Baked Sale," an outdoor food festival to showcase their wares, on Saturday, June 13, 2015. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File)

BENNINGTON, Vt. (NEWS10) – A historic bill was passed into law on Monday. Marijuana will be legal in the State of Vermont.

Most people are applauding the new law but if they aren’t careful, heading across state lines can be a real buzz kill.

“I think it’s awesome.”

Legalizing recreational marijuana is just what the doctor ordered for Paul Saitta.

“This will definitely, definitely help me.”

Most of his life, he’s battled a medical disorder that’s caused seizures. Medical marijuana helps but it costs him a fortune. Starting in July, he won’t have to wait for a prescription any longer.

“It will help prevent me from having seizures.”

On Monday, Vermont Gov. Phil Scott privately signed a marijuana bill into law. It’s the ninth state in the country to do so but the first to do it as an act of a state legislature.

Good news for people like Paul, but added challenges for law enforcement in New York like Columbia County Sheriff David Bartlett.

“We’re seeing an absolute increase.”

Not just in marijuana arrests, but in oils and concentrated cannabis as well.

“Being so close to Massachusetts, we figured we would see a rise.”

His county is right next to the Berkshires where pot is legal. That’s not the case in New York.

Charges can range from unlawful possession to a misdemeanor to depending on the amount, a felony.

Back in Bennington, people like Steven Pratt imagine it will be the same problems with the Vermont-New York line.

“Yeah, that’s going to be a big issue.”

The law goes into effect in Vermont on July 1st. With it, adults over the age of 21 will be able to possess one ounce of marijuana.