Vermont studies developing commercial marijuana markets, health department launches public education campaign

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NEWPORT – Vermont is one of the healthiest states, with one of the highest rates of marijuana use in the country.

To address this the Department of Health has launched Let’s Talk Cannabis, a web resource aimed at increasing awareness about cannabis and its effects.

Now that it’s legal in the state for adults 21 years or older to possess up to one ounce of cannabis, the health department says it is important to put forward this and similar campaigns to offer facts, tips and actionable resources for Vermonter.

Health Commissioner Dr. Mark Levine said in a statement that the campaign can give Vermonters the information they need to make safe and informed choices.

“With changes in the legal landscape surrounding possession and use, it’s important that people understand how it can affect their health,” Dr. Levine said.

Meanwhile, Attorney General TJ Donovan will moderate a public panel discussion on the topic of a regulated, commercial cannabis market at Contois Auditorium in Burlington tomorrow.

The panel will discuss the opportunities and challenges faced by Massachusetts and Maine as they prepared for regulated markets for commercial cannabis in their states, and the lessons Vermont can learn preparing for the upcoming legislative session in January.

“Vermont has created a legal limbo by legalizing possession of cannabis but remaining silent on how Vermonters obtain it,” said Attorney General Donovan. “This lack of clarity has raised issues for law enforcement, public health, and consumer protection.”

National data shows that more people in the state age 12 and up are using marijuana, and that the number of Vermonters aged between 12 to 17 who try it for the first time is higher than the country’s average.

Most high school students said they did not use marijuana, according to the 2017 Vermont Youth Risk Behavior Survey, with 24 percent not reporting any use in the past 30 days.