Statement by Health Commissioner Chen related to marijuana legalization in Vermont

VT Health Department

Tuesday, January 26, 2016 9:10 AM

The Vermont Department of Health finds no compelling public health reason to legalize marijuana.

Whether or not it is legalized, the evidence shows that using marijuana negatively affects physical health, mental health and academic achievement, especially for youth and young adults. Early and regular use of any psychoactive drug increases the risk for lifelong problems due to addiction. If marijuana is legalized, the market must be strongly regulated to prevent or to lessen the health impacts that could result.

Taking lessons from tobacco and alcohol, if marijuana is legalized the Health Impact Assessment<http://healthvermont.gov/pubs/healthassessments/index.aspx> recommends first putting in place strong infrastructure to support regulation, and well-funded prevention, countermarketing, enforcement and monitoring.

Harry Chen, MD

Commissioner of Health