The Vermont Cannabis Control Board decided not to recommend specific warning signs about the health effects of cannabis products, and James Pepper, the board’s chairman, explained to VTDigger how the board made the decision.
Vermont Medical Association urge This week the board and the legislature are asking for warnings that cannabis and its main active ingredient, tetrahydrocannabinol — THC for short — may cause psychosis, impaired driving, addiction and harm to fetuses and nursing infants.
Pepper said the council adopted the health warnings recommended by its Public Health Subcommittee, made up of state health commissioner Mark Levine, retired Vermont Police Chief Ingrid Jonas and Brattleboro Select Board member Tim Weisel.
The product label The warnings recommended by the council read: “contains THC,” “not safe for children,” and “keep out of reach of children.”
Bieber said the subcommittee did not want to overload the posters. He noted that a safety leaflet distributed with cannabis products would address the health effects. . added Law 164Vermont’s law that legalizes recreational cannabis, allocates up to $10 million annually to education and prevention.
“There is a lot more that can be done than just trying to pack a whole bunch of information onto a very small label,” Bieber said.
The proposed poster warnings were submitted to the Interagency Committee on Administrative Rules, primarily the governor’s office, last month, but Bieber indicated that the board would consider all comments submitted during the public comment period.
“Just because we made our rules doesn’t mean that’s the end of the story,” Bieber said.
Pepper said the Interagency Committee on Administrative Rules will provide initial comments to the Board, after which the Board will submit the rules to the Office of the Secretary of State, which will launch the official public comment period. After the comment period, the legislature will look at the rules, public comments, and responses from the council and ensure that the rules are in line with the legislature’s intent when legalizing recreational cannabis.
Vermont has legalized the sale of cannabis to adults starting in October. Medical use is already legal.
The Vermont Medical Association has also recommended that the board of directors and the legislature ban products containing more than 15% THC.
This recommendation goes against the stated purpose of legalizing cannabis, Bieber said, which is to replace the illegal market.
“In order to do that, we have to supply the products that the illegal market provides,” Bieber said. “Thinking about people growing on the illicit market trying to cap their THC at 15 percent…it’s not just a product circulating in the illicit market, and so I think it’s important for the board to realize that.”
The legislature has already set the THC content of the cannabis flower at 30 percent.
“There’s kind of a normal maximum of about 30 percent,” Bieber said. “You really have to do your best — and have some extensive cultivation practices — to grow a cannabis flower with over 30 percent THC.”
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