Last year Vermont’s legislature passed Act 164, which gives the residents of each town the power to decide if they want their city or town to “opt in” to allow retail cannabis (marijuana) establishments, as well as to allow “Integrated Licenses” (permission for a business to grow, lab-test their own product, distribute it, and have retail sales).
“This is a lot for a town and voters to think about! Many people do not yet understand the impact of these decisions,” says Ann Gilbert, CVNDC’s program director.
Most towns’ select boards have determined that they need more learning and more time to discuss the related issues, since there is no rush to vote on this now. (No licenses will be granted until 2022 so a vote can be held another time.) However, five of our towns in Washington County have decided to allow a vote at Town Meeting this year. Montpelier, Berlin, Waterbury, Marshfield and Cabot will have this article on their ballots. If you have not yet received your Town Meeting ballot, it will be arriving soon.
Cannabis use by youth has serious consequences on their brains and behaviors. If towns allow local retail outlets in our communities, it is expected that our youth will have increased access.
We urge towns to use this next year to engage in thoughtful and informed examination of the long-term impact of all the options available for controlling cannabis. Allowing retail cannabis is a significant change with serious considerations for the health and safety of our community.
Make sure you are fully informed before you vote! Here’s what you and your neighbors can do to prepare:
— Here’s a fact sheet to share with your towns about retail cannabis.
— Read Act 164 for yourself: click here
— Be informed about the impacts of youth cannabis use. The February 3rd, UVM Pediatric Grand Rounds is a great starting place: Watch here!
— Section 863 of the law is confusing and could be clarified in this legislative session … notify your local representative here!
— Find many resources at https://preventionworksvermont.org/
— Check out Vermont’s Let’s Talk Cannabis campaign for adults or ParentUP to help parents of tweens and teens prevent youth marijuana and other substance use.