Cites need to keep up with the illegal market
By Guy Page
The Vermont Cannabis Control Board won’t reduce the THC levels in legal marijuana, despite Vermont doctors appealing to ‘the science’ of the harm caused by high amounts of the psychoactive chemical in marijuana.
A 2020 law establishes and regulates the legal growth, harvesting, production and sale of marijuana, and leaves most of the implementation details to the unelected, appointed Vermont Cannabis Control Board.
Last fall, the Vermont Medical Society recommended the Vermont Cannabis Control Board cap at 15% the concentration of THC permitted in ‘flower’ to be sold legally when marijuana shops open.
Cannabis use, especially of high potency greater than 15% THC, is associated with increased urgent and emergency department psychiatric visits and increased mental health disorders including psychosis,” the VMS said in a Nov. 17 resolution. The resolution quoted a CDC statement warning that that these cannabis exposures can result in extreme confusion, anxiety, paranoia, panic, fast heart rate, delusions or hallucinations, increased blood pressure, and severe nausea or vomiting.
The ‘science,’ according to both the VMS and the CDC, seem to highlight the danger of high-THC level marijuana. Nevertheless, the board refused to lower the cap, citing the need for the legal market to keep pace with the thriving illegal market. The board’s Dec. 21 response appears below:
“The Vermont Medical Society recently issued recommendations to the Cannabis Control Board banning products containing greater than 15% THC from the Vermont adult-use marketplace. This is not the recommendation of the Board.
“The current statutory cap on THC concentration in cannabis flower is 30%. This policy decision was debated by the Vermont legislature and determined to be the appropriate potency limit. Board has no authority to raise this cap and has no intention of lowering it.
“The stated purpose of creating Vermont’s adult-use cannabis marketplace is “to move as much of the illegal cannabis market as possible into the regulated market for the purposes of consumer protection and public safety.” While the Board considered the public health concerns raised by the Vermont Medical Society, the CCB must contend with the fact that high THC cannabis makes up majority of products sold in the medical cannabis and illicit marketplaces. Lowering the THC cap to 15% would merely perpetuate the unregulated market and force consumers to purchase untested, potentially contaminated products.
“A legalized cannabis marketplace presents an opportunity to begin addressing the harms perpetrated under the decades long war on drugs, as well as create dedicated revenue sources for education, prevention, and afterschool programs. As we have seen with other controlled substances, these investments will likely have a greater impact on reducing the ease of access among our youth and helping our adults make informed decisions about cannabis, than continued prohibition.”
Categories: State Government