An early and ardent supporter of marijuana decriminalization in the Green Mountain State, Vermont’s former Attorney General William Sorrell (D) received a sweet parting gift from the state’s ex-Gov. Howard Dean – a license plate blazing a fish and three simple numbers: 420.
Appointed by Governor Howard Dean as Vermont’s Attorney General (AG) in 1997, Sorrell was the longest-serving AG in the state’s 226-year history.
— VTDigger (@vtdigger) October 25, 2017
Concerned that a criminal conviction for Vermont’s constituents would restrict their employment opportunities and eligibility for certain government-funded programs, Sorrell initially rolled out his support for the decriminalization of small amounts of marijuana by the end of 2012. Signed into law on July 1, 2013, House Bill 200 replaced Vermont’s criminal penalties for possession of up to 1 ounce of marijuana with civil fines.
Governor Dean, appreciative of Sorrell’s efforts and tenacity as Vermont’s AG, left a simple but distinct parting gift as he prepared to leave office in 2003.
According to the Vermont Digger, “a longtime aide to the governor contacted Sorrell and said Dean wanted to give Sorrell and his three sisters vanity license plates to use whenever he had to turn in the plates he used as attorney general.”
Initially, Sorrell asked Vermont’s DMV for “a conservation plate,” which they failed to provide. So, per the Vermont Digger, Sorrell went back and “requested a ‘420’ plate.”
Now a private citizen, Vermont’s ex-Atty. Gen. declined to comment on his personal marijuana consumption. Instead, Sorrell said, “he didn’t care what people thought or if they deemed the plate appropriate for him to have.”