Why Rush?

It is too early to learn what the other state who have legalized marijuana got right and got wrong. 

What’s the rush? Why does this need to take place right now?  

This is a very critical step for the future of Vermont, and it needs to be done right the first time.  Before the state’s policymakers make this important decision, they owe it to Vermonter’s to diligently strive to gather all the pertinent data.  Why not wait just a bit longer so we can learn from other state’s successes and mistakes?

Many researchers, including the Vermont Department of Health in its recent Health Impact Assessment, have noted that legalization laws are too new yet to determine many long-term impacts on health and public safety.  That being said, the limited date that is available, particularly from Colorado, suggest that youth[i] and college-age adult use[ii], marijuana-related traffic deaths[iii], and children treated for marijuana ingestion[iv] have all increased.  These are potentially very serious drawbacks to legalization and more time is needed to study them.

Vermont’s law enforcement and health care communities simply need more time to prepare for the challenges that legalization will present.  More trained Drug Recognition Experts, addiction treatment specialists, mental health counselors, and youth prevention practitioners will all be needed.  If Vermont is going to legalize marijuana, determining how these additional resources are added to the existing systems should be well thought out and in place prior to legalization.



[i] SAMHSA.gov, National Survey on Drug Use and Health 2012 and 2013

[ii] SAMHSA.gov, National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 2006–2013

[iii] Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area. The legalization of marijuana in Colorado: the impact. September 2015

[iv] Children’s Hospital Colorado. Accessed at http://www.thedenverchannel.com/news/call7-investigators/greater-access-.... May 5, 2014

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