Two resolutions proposed to the Vermont Medical Society’s annual November meeting may present an obstacle for the trend of medical and recreational cannabis legalization in Vermont.
One resolution proposes that warning labels be added to medical marijuana products and would restrict the conditions by which medical marijuana is prescribed. Many members of the Vermont Medical Society feel that there is a lack of scientific and medical evidence to support medical marijuana as a cure or alleviation for many currently accepted conditions, such as post-traumatic stress disorder. “The more people label it as medical or something that’s legalized, the less wary people are going to be,” stated Dr. Geoffrey Kane, Brattleboro Retreat’s chief of addiction services.
The other resolution comes out against the push to legalize marijuana recreationally. This “really developed from a lot of physicians seeing a side from marijuana use that probably the public doesn’t see,” said Dr. David Rettew, a pediatric psychiatrist at the University of Vermont Medical Center who co-authored the proposed resolutions alongside Dr. Catherine Antley, a South Burlington-based dermatopathologist, and Dr. John Hughes, UVM’s addiction specialist.
In addition to keeping cannabis an illegal controlled substance, the resolution would band together state agencies and physicians to educate both children and adults on the alleged negative health effects of consuming cannabis. While the resolution necessitates the research of costs associated with the current cannabis decriminalization, it also proposes research on the future ways that legalizing cannabis could potentially affect the taxpayers of Vermont, such as the cost of healthcare, emergency room visits, lost productivity, and law enforcement.
Matt Simon, political director for Marijuana Policy Project of Washington D.C., theorizes that the proposal essentially calls for a return to prohibition and ignores many potential fiscal and social benefits of legalization. “Prohibition has not been effective policy from a public health perspective,” Simon said.
The two proposed resolutions will be discussed and voted on during the Medical Society’s annual membership meeting on November 4, from 9-11 am at the Woodstock Inn.