Vermont eschews restrictive adult-use cannabis labeling, potency cap

Vermont adult-use cannabis regulators decided against more restrictive product warning labels and a THC potency cap advocated by a state doctors group.

The Vermont Medical Society recently urged the state Cannabis Control Board and lawmakers to require warnings that THC might cause psychosis, impaired driving, addiction and harm to fetuses.

The state’s leading physician advocacy group also wanted to prohibit any products with more than 15% THC, a drastic cut from the 30% allowed under the recreational marijuana law.

James Pepper, the chair of the Vermont Cannabis Control Board, told the VTDigger that regulators are going to stick with warnings recommended by the board’s public health subcommittee and not overload labels with additional information.

Under the board’s proposed rules, businesses would be required to have labels that warn consumers that products contain THC, aren’t safe for children, shouldn’t be used while breastfeeding, can be habit forming and can impair judgment.

Warnings on branded products will also say, according to the VTDigger, that “persons 25 years and younger may be more likely to develop harm to the developing brain.”

Pepper noted that material provided with cannabis products will mention health effects.

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He said that a THC potency cap of 15% would run counter to the goal of getting rid of the illicit marijuana market in Vermont.

“To think that people that are growing for the illicit market are trying to cap their THC at 15%,” Pepper told the VTDigger, “it’s just not a product that’s prevalent on the illicit market, and, therefore, I think it’s important for the board to recognize that.”

The rules aren’t final yet. They still must be filed with the secretary of state’s office, go through a public comment period and be assessed by the Legislature to ensure they are consistent with the recreational marijuana law.

Recreational marijuana sales in Vermont are expected to begin in May 2022.

The 2021 MJBizFactbook projects annual sales of $145 million by the program’s fourth year.