Earned Media | Chester Telegraph
Does your town have retail cannabis on the docket for town meeting? Do you want to know more before you vote on this important issue?
Green Peak Alliance member, The Collaborative, hosted an online forum on Monday, February 21, 2022 from 6:30-7:30 PM on Zoom to provide information on retail cannabis and give community members an opportunity to get their questions answered. Before communities vote on Retail Opt-In, it’s important to be fully informed. All residents were welcome to attend, especially residents of Chester, Hartford, Springfield, and Woodstock (Town and Village). The Zoom event was recorded and posted below and available for all to watch.
Video Timestamp Information
4:30 – 19:30 Regional planning, local options
19:30 – 33:40 Public health information
33:40 – 55:00 Q&A, local options
55:00 Sharing of contact info
Letter to Editor | The Vermont Journal
As participants to the Springfield Selectboard’s meeting regarding retail cannabis, I wanted to respond to Kyle Laurite Bononmetti’s coverage of the meeting in the Feb. 2nd article. In the article, Bonometti writes “Concerns about an uptick in youth marijuana use were also voiced, to which Silberman pointed to statistics showing that there has been virtually no proven link between the presence of local cannabis sellers and an increase in youth use.” While this comment was stated in the meeting, myself and other professionals in the field refuted this statement with evidence that was then shared by me with Town Manager Mobus via email. The article presented on February 2nd failed to mention the counter statement.
I think it is important that the public is aware that there are multiple documented studies ranging between June 2015 and October 2021 from already legalized states of Washington, Oregon, and California (having had cannabis retail in place since 2013 onward) that refute Mr. Silberman’s claim. These studies show the following:
- Greater retailer availability of cannabis is positively associated with use among adolescents
- Past 30-day use of cannabis among youth increased in counties of Oregon where retail outlets exist relative to downward 30-day youth cannabis use in counties that did not allow retail cannabis (study: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6986306/)
- Greater availability of cannabis and alcohol are positively associated with co-use among adolescents, and with beliefs favorable for cannabis and alcohol (study: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33435786/)
While not specific to youth, a Washington State study from February 2020 finds that as retailers open closer to where people live, more individuals use cannabis more frequently. These effects are concentrated among young adults (age 18-26), for women, and for rural residents. (study: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34712040/ )
It is my hope that you will print these facts for people to better understand the public health implications that retail cannabis has on a community.
On Behalf of the Green Peak Alliance
Letter to Editor | The Vermont Journal
“Let’s bring Health and Wellness into the town. Let’s benefit from it and regulate it.” A quote from the article in The Vermont Journal, Oct. 13, 2021.
The Black River Area Community Coalition was established in 2003 with the purpose of preventing youth substance use and violence by promoting a healthy involved community. Over the past 18 years, we have successfully worked with all our partners and communities to keep our youth safe whether through underage drinking strategies, prescription drug take-back boxes, wellness and after prom events, school educational programs, summer camp activities, youth groups, parent nights, and more.
In 2016, when drug paraphernalia and vaping stores started showing up in Ludlow, we collaborated with the Ludlow Police Department and the town of Ludlow to pass an ordinance that prohibited such products from being marketed to our youth and went further to keep marijuana and cannabis retail shops out of Ludlow. A quote from that ordinance stated: “It is the intent for the Ludlow Select Board to promote a family friendly atmosphere within the Town. This objective applies to the residents of the Town and all our visitors.”
After the passage of Act 86 in 2018, which legalized cannabis for those over the age of 21, we shifted our strategies to address the use of cannabis by our youth and young adults. According to the Vermont Department of Health: “Vermont rates of use in the past month among people aged [12-plus] were highest in the country – at almost twice the national rate.
“Adult marijuana use has steadily increased in Vermont since 2013 and use among high school students increased significantly from 2017 to 2019.”
The National Institute on Drug Abuse recently conducted the first-ever study measuring the time between first use of an addictive drug and the onset of a substance use disorder among adolescents and young adults. In adolescents ages 12-17, 10.7% developed a substance use disorder (SUD) within 12 months of starting to use cannabis. Among young adults 18-25, 6.4% have developed an SUD. (Published in the American Medical Association, March 31, 2021).
The New England Poison Control Center reported a 160% increase in calls reporting the accidental ingestion of marijuana by children, especially with cannabis manufactured products, despite using childproof packaging and warning labels. (2019)
Just in the past several months, there has been an outpouring of support in our community for the Divided Sky Rehab Center due to the overwhelming number of people who have a substance use disorder in our state. We don’t need a dispensary in our community to make it easier for adults to purchase cannabis who might not otherwise.
Health and wellness? We don’t think so. Think of your children, grandchildren, and our young adults. Let’s keep them safe and healthy though prevention, not through retail cannabis dispensaries.
Paul Faenza, Executive Director