Smoke ‘em while you got ‘em? Several states are weighing the plausibility of placing a cap on THC for medical or adult-use cannabis. And Vermont seems to be moving ahead with some laws that could impose restrictions on products available in dispensaries. Even for patients with a Vermont medical card.
Starting in 2022, patients will not be the only residents in Vermont that can purchase legal marijuana. Adult-use legislation passed the Senate, with S.54. And in October 2021, Vermont became the eleventh state to legalize recreational use.
And that also means concentrates will be available to residents over the age of twenty-one next year. Because of the legalization of recreational cannabis, Vermont lawmakers are looking at other states. And the potential impact of adult-use and specifically concentrates, on public health.
That could mean placing a ban or limiting the concentration of THC in cannabis products sold. Before the juggernaut of adult-use is unleashed on the state. In October, the Vermont Cannabis Control Board estimated that the recreational cannabis marketplace could reach $225 million in annual sales by 2025. Which would generate more than $46 million in state tax revenue.
A proposed cap of a maximum of 15% THC content has been proposed by the Vermont Medical Society. The regulatory body represents 2,400 registered doctors and medical assistants in the state.
A resolution was adopted that asked for the maximum 15% limit to THC potency. And it also requested that all marijuana products be sold with a health warning on the label. Like tobacco products are required to have on the packaging.
The “Vermont Medical Society Resolution VMS Position on Commercialized Sales of Cannabis” was adopted on November 17, 2021. And it replaces a previous 2018 resolution submitted by the VMS, that opposed commercialized sales of recreational marijuana.
Current legislation in Vermont requires that cannabis bud or flower does not exceed 30% THC. And concentrated cannabis products are limited to 60% THC. Levels of potency that the state medical society is not comfortable with.
In every state where cannabis is legalized, there is a process to request higher-potency cannabis. It is a structure that exists to make sure certain qualifying patients can access higher levels of cannabis concentrates.
Typically, this rule applies to patients who are in end-of-life care, with a terminal illness. When the patient is not expected to live, compassionate care means making that patient comfortable. To help ease the transition, and to reduce pain symptoms, as well as emotional distress.
Upon physician recommendation, any patient may be approved for a higher than normal potency of cannabis. It is usually done by a special letter and application, where the state cannabis board reviews on a case-by-case basis.
So, when people argue against capping cannabis potency, it would not apply to patients with terminal illnesses. But it could help curb the increase in cannabis toxicity cases (similar to cannabis overdose) that some states like Colorado and Washington are seeing. Both states are also considering a 15% THC potency cap.