It is illegal for anyone under age 21 to use or possess cannabis (marijuana, hashish, weed, pot, etc.) in Vermont. Using cannabis can negatively affect brain development and impair your judgement and coordination. Different forms of cannabis can have very different levels of THC and can cause severe reactions.
Like cigarettes, smoking cannabis is harmful to the lungs. The smoke from cannabis has many of the same toxins and chemicals found in cigarette smoke and, when inhaled, can increase your risk of developing lung problems. The additives, tools and high temperatures used for vaping cannabis may expose you to toxic substances, which may cause serious lung injury. The brain does not finish developing until the mid-20s, and cannabis use before that time can interfere with brain development.
The way cannabis is grown has changed and some plants now have higher levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). High levels of THC can lead to cannabis poisoning, especially with edibles, like cookies.
In addition to interfering with brain development, regular cannabis use has been linked to anxiety, depression and suicide, especially for teens with a family history of mental illness. Cannabis use increases the risk of schizophrenia, although it is not common. The more cannabis you use, the higher the risk. Using cannabis as a teen can lead to cannabis dependence and increase your risk for using or abusing other substances and illegal drugs.
Your brain is still developing. Using cannabis regularly in your teens and early 20s may lead to physical changes in your brain. Research shows that when you use cannabis your memory, learning, and attention are harmed. Some studies suggest a permanent impact as well.
The harmful effects of cannabis on your brain may impact your educational and professional goals and how successful you are in life.
Penalties vary. If you are found to possess even 1 ounce or less of marijuana or 5 grams or less of hashish, you may be found guilty of a civil violation. You may be referred to the Court Diversion Program and could be required to enroll in the Youth Substance Abuse Safety Program. Failure to complete the program successfully will result in fines and a driver’s license suspension.