Health Department Launches Cannabis Public Education Campaign

News Release

For Immediate Release: December 2, 2019

Media Contact:
Ben Truman
Vermont Department of Health
802-951-5153 / 802-863-7281
 

Health Department Launches Cannabis Public Education Campaign
“Let’s Talk Cannabis” encourages making safe and informed choices

BURLINGTON, Vt – Vermont is ranked as one of the healthiest states, but Vermonters have one of the highest rates of marijuana use. Now that it’s legal in the state for adults 21 years or older to possess up to one ounce of cannabis, the Department of Health has launched Let’s Talk Cannabis, a web resource of science-based information aimed at increasing awareness about cannabis and how it affects our bodies, minds and health.

Let’s Talk Cannabis offers facts, tips and actionable resources for several audiences, including youth and young adults, people who are breastfeeding, parents and health care professionals.

“With changes in the legal landscape surrounding possession and use, it’s important that people understand how it can affect their health,” said Health Commissioner Mark Levine, MD. “As with all substance use, consumption of cannabis can be unhealthy. Let’s Talk Cannabis gives Vermonters the information they need to make safe and informed choices.”

Dr. Levine said certain groups are at greater risk of serious health problems associated with cannabis use, including people who breastfeed or are pregnant. “Cannabis use can harm your baby,” said Dr. Levine. “If you’re pregnant or are planning to be, or you breastfeed your infant, it’s very important that you not use cannabis in any form.”

The department is also hoping to reach young people. While it is illegal in Vermont for anyone under the age of 21 to consume or possess cannabis, national data shows that more people in the state age 12 and up are using marijuana compared to the U.S. overall. The number of Vermonters ages 12 to 17 who try it for the first time is also higher than the country as a whole. The news is better among older teens. According to the 2017 Vermont Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS), most high school students said they were not using marijuana, with only 24% reporting any use in the past 30 days.  

“Marijuana use changes teens’ brains, bodies and behaviors,” said Dr. Levine. “Let’s Talk Cannabis is designed to provide relatable information to young Vermonters, so they can understand how the drug influences their bodies and thinking.”

The educational effort complements other available resources, including ParentUpVT.org, where parents and others can find information and tips about having the sometimes difficult conversations with their kids about substance use and misuse, including cannabis.

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