A goodbye gift for Vermont’s former Attorney General, William Sorrell, was anything but ordinary for a typical chief law enforcement officer. But, Sorrel was one of the first advocates of decriminalizing marijuana in the state and now he is able to show his support with his new license plate.
Vermont’s former Governor Howard Dean hired Sorrel in 1997 and Sorrell has become the longest acting Attorney General in Vermont’s history, serving 20 years. In 2003, Dean retired and that is when he gifted Sorrell and a vanity license plate, a gift that is classically offered to friends of the Governor. Typically, a vanity plate consists of three numbers, with lower numbers signifying importance.
Sorrel would not receive his plates until he turned in the Attorney General the plates that were in use at that time. The plates remained in the Department of Motor Vehicle storage unit for the next 13 years, according to Sorrel. Last December, when he went to pick up the plates he said, “I took it out of the manila folder and raised it in the air, laughing. Everybody got a huge kick out of it”.
Sorrell stated the plate number was merely just a coincidence and that Dean was unaware that ‘420’ had any type of reference to marijuana.
Whether it was coincidence or not, Sorrell’s new license plate definitely corresponds to his term as Attorney General for the state. In 2013, Sorrell decriminalized marijuana with his House Bill 200. The bill replaced the state’s criminal penalties for petty possession for up to an ounce of marijuana with fines instead. Sorrell advocated for the legalization recreational marijuana and last year he encouraged lawmakers to endorse a proposal for full legalization.
Sorrell commented on his gift, “I’m not going to trade it. It makes me smile every time I see it. It’s a source of pleasant amusement.”
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