Local Press

Statement by Health Commissioner Chen related to marijuana

Vermont 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

 Six Vermont Physician Organizations Warn Against Legalizing Weed

By: Bob Kinzel, VPR

Six of Vermont’s largest physician organizations are urging the Legislature not to legalize marijuana this year.

They say marijuana has many harmful effects, particularly to young people, and that much more study is needed.

Read the full article here.


Neuroscientist adds voice to warnings about legal pot

Dr. Madras

By: Jasper Craven, VT Digger

Opponents of legalizing marijuana gathered under the Statehouse dome Wednesday for Prevention Awareness Day, holding workshops and discussions regarding substance abuse and the possible impacts of legal weed in the Green Mountain State.

The events were organized by Prevention Works VT, a coalition aimed at reducing drug and alcohol abuse among young people.

Dr. Bertha Madras, a neuroscientist from Harvard Medical School, was given an award for her prevention efforts, and she offered her own thoughts against legalization in a news conference.

Portraying Vermont as being at a crossroads over whether to legalize and normalize cannabis use, Madras said political talks on the issue have been devoid of scientific considerations.

Read the full article here.


Debby Haskins: Task force findings on marijuana’s harm underreported

Editor’s note: This commentary is by Debby Haskins, who is the executive director of SAM-VT (Smart Approaches to Marijuana). 

Early last summer, the Vermont Department of Health formed a broad-based task group to conduct a health impact assessment for legalizing marijuana in Vermont. On Oct. 29, the group gave a progress report on the first steps, which included a survey of 185 published scientific studies on the harms and benefits of marijuana use. The presentation was well attended by the media, though it seems that some of the reporters were not paying much attention.  Read more  here.


Marijuana Legalization Opponents Say More Research Must be Done for Vermont

Source: MyChamplainValley.com

While the effort to legalize marijuana continues to gain ground in Vermont, opponents are still speaking out.  Five states across the country have legalized pot, but Vermont is in position to be the first to do so through the legislature.

Opponents say the issue is about much more than just legalization, state lawmakers need to consider the impacts to daily life in the Green Mountain State.

Read more here.

 Marijuana-legalization foes want to talk science

Source: Burlington Free Press

MONTPELIER – Law enforcement officials and others who oppose marijuana legalization want to ensure they’re not forgotten as legislators get back to work on a regulation bill this week.

Opponents held a news conference Tuesday morning on the steps of the Statehouse in Montpelier.  Read more here.


Lets Talk About Mental Health

November 16, 2015: Join Nels and Robert as they talk with SAM-VT executive director Debby Haskins about her organizations take of impending marijuana legalization in the state of Vermont.  Watch the full discussion

Retired Judge Ben Joseph speaks with a variety of professionals on marijuana. 

Watch the videos here.