State News

Vermont physicians urge Legislature to maintain THC potency caps on cannabis 

In response to recent recommendations from Vermont’s Cannabis Control Board (CCB), physicians from the Vermont Medical Society (VMS), the American Academy of Pediatrics Vermont Chapter (AAPVT), the Vermont Psychiatric Association (VPA) and the Vermont Academy of Family Physicians (VTAFP) have urged the Vermont legislature to maintain the current statutory THC potency limits for the retail sale of cannabis flower and solid cannabis concentrate as an important factor in protecting public health. 

During the last legislative session, the organizations were successful in defeating a similar proposal, when lawmakers voted to support the retention of the 60% THC cap on solid concentrates and 30% THC cap on cannabis flower.

The joint statement said, “Initial revenue estimates appear to be meeting their targets, and states like Colorado and Washington are currently seeking stronger regulation of solid concentrates because of the negative health impacts on their users.”

A letter submitted to the Legislature last week on Jan. 3 cited numerous studies that show a growing body of evidence that the risks of physical dependence and addiction increase with exposure to high concentrations of THC, and the continued use of products with potency greater than 15% THC are more likely to produce psychosis, suicidality, anxiety and uncontrollable vomiting. 

“Vermonters already have a very low perception of harm from the use of cannabis. At a time when Vermonters are facing filled hospital beds, crowded emergency departments and prolonged wait times for in-patient mental health treatment, Vermonters deserve evidence-based information about the use of high-risk, high-potency products,” said Ryan Sexton, M.D., emergency medicine physician and president of the Vermont Medical Society. “Vermont has the opportunity to benefit from information coming out of other states and to build a safer cannabis market.” 

Many Vermonters associate legalized cannabis sales with marijuana from the 1990s, which had THC levels less than 4%, on average. Yet, in states with established legal markets, like Colorado and Washington, THC potency has dramatically increased, with averages for marijuana flower ranging from 17-28% and for solid concentrates as high as 90% THC.  

VMS, AAPVT, VPA and VTAFP urge the Vermont General Assembly to choose the protection of Vermonters public health over the profit goals of the cannabis marketplace by maintaining the current statutory THC potency limits for the retail sale of cannabis flower and solid concentrated cannabis products. 

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