Legislation

State’s marijuana warning labels too weak, doctors say

State board avoids doctors’ warning of mental, physical health dangers

By Guy Page

The Vermont Cannabis Control Board (CCB) has disregarded Vermont Medical Society (VMS) package labeling recommendations for legal marijuana products, opting instead for a warning label that says relatively little about specific health hazards of high-potency THC consumption.

The CCB is the appointed board charged with overseeing Vermont’s transition to a legal market. Last week, Vermont Daily Chronicle reported that the CCB endorsed the legal sale of highly concentrated (60%) THC products, saying that’s what the market wants and citing the high production costs of diluting THC to 15%.

In a Nov. 17 resolution sent to the CCB, the VMS urged this detailed warning be printed on every package: “Cannabis/THC may cause: 1. Psychosis* 2. Impaired driving 3. Addiction 4. Suicide attempt* 5. Uncontrollable vomiting 6. Harm to fetus/nursing baby. *This can occur in individuals with no previous history of psychosis or mental illness

Instead, the CCB recommended in a Nov. 30 letter to the Legislature (Section 2, chapter 10) a less specific warning label, focusing mostly on keeping legal marijuana out of the hands of children. The package must say “Keep Out of the Reach of Children” and “Includes Multiple Servings” and include these symbols:

CCB Chair James Pepper is a former Vermont deputy state’s attorney who helped implement criminal justice reform, including cannabis conviction expungement. He reportedly explained to VT Digger, “There’s a lot more that can be done than just trying to pack a whole bunch of information on a tiny little label.” 

For example, the CCB recommends this warning label on all advertising and marketing materials. Like the packaging warning, it is relatively light on the dangers of overconsumption to adults. 

The CCB’s recommendations gloss over the real, specific effects of high-potency THC consumption observed in emergency rooms across Vermont, the VMS says.

“At a time when Vermonters are facing filled hospital beds, crowded emergency departments and prolonged wait times for in-patient mental health treatment, Vermont’s medical professionals believe Vermonters deserve accurate information about the risks of cannabis use and should not have commercial access to high-risk, high-potency products,” VMS President and psychiatrist Dr. Simi Ravven said.

The public may comment on all CCB recommendations. The board will meet next at 11 am Wednesday, December 8.

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4 replies »

  1. Sounds about right. If they allow people to know the potential dangers & side effects of this drug, they might refrain from buying & using it. Ya’ll remember cigarettes, right? Vermont has been taken over by Communist, power mongering lunatics (in case you hadn’t noticed).

  2. Human nature is a strange thing. Sometime scary warning labels end up being the best marketing. People may recall a few years ago when a cluster of opioid overdoses was associated with a particular batch of heroin, the news media would show the stamp on the packet as a warning of “what to stay away from”. That didn’t last long, when a couple of jurisdictions refused to provide that info to the media after they determined that the more serious junkies would seek that batch out for it’s potency. Now that potentially lifesaving information that may be heeded by the more cautious users is now universally unavailable. We have adopted this policy to accommodate the extreme element of users and put the more casual users in danger.
    I guess what i am saying is that if you advertise a product as potentially inducing psychosis, that may provide appeal to some of our more adventurous risk takers, or as our legal system would put it: it creates an “attractive nuisance”, like posting scary signs at a swimming hole.

  3. Ya, definitely keep out of the hands of children, but crank them up instead with some mRNA concoction that they need about as much as a hole in the head…I mean, since we’re really trying to pretend here about child safety and all.

  4. They should warn that if you are applying for a job you may well be required to commit to a drug test. If positive for this product you will probably be refused employment. One industry in Vermont wanted to hire 50 manufacturing employees to add a shift. Even in an area of higher unemployment they had few applicants, one reason was a required drug test to be around industrial machinery.

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