UVM Health Director Challenges Marijuana Assumptions

“The adverse health impacts of marijuana use are serious, especially among young people, and should not be eclipsed by economic considerations driving the debate.”

Dr. Jon Kevin Porter, director, University of Vermont Center for Health and Wellbeing recently published an editorial on the Burlington Free Press website, in which he clearly states his concerns about the effort to legalize commercial sales of marijuana for recreational use:

“Student success at the University of Vermont does not happen by accident. It requires bringing full attention and energy to bear on the task of each day and taking full advantage of the many opportunities designed to support students in reaching their educational, social and career goals and their developmental maturity. A critical question students across the country must answer is what role the use of alcohol and marijuana will play in their daily lives. Often depicted as simply “part of college,” the misuse of these substances creates serious obstacles to success.

Addressing a problem effectively requires identifying and naming it as such. I write to share concerns raised by a growing body of evidence regarding both the short- and long-term consequences of the misuse of marijuana — a perspective shared by many medical researchers, scientists and clinicians. These concerns are heightened by a roughly fivefold increase in the potency of the drug over recent years and are especially relevant for those who initiate use in adolescence and early adulthood.”

He goes on to describe the growing number of high school and college students who are using it regularly, at the same time that more and more young people are beginning to think it is harmless, and lists some of the negative impacts being detailed by new research. He then concludes “…I am convinced that regular use of marijuana presents a powerful impediment to student engagement and success at the University of Vermont — as it does in our high schools and educational institutions nationwide.”

This is an excellent, science-based article that is also based on years of daily experience with students struggling with the physical, emotional, and cognitive effects of marijuana.

Read Dr. Porter’s full letter on the Free Press web site. [link this text to:

See also Dr. Porter’s December 2014 interview on the Judge Ben Show. [link this text to: