The Vermont House last week approved several bills aimed at setting up the state’s adult-use market, including a bill to impose a 60% THC cap on concentrates, VT Digger reports. The amendment, tacked on by state Rep. John Gannon (D), led to frustration from some lawmakers and followed a Department of Health decision to eliminate – and then reimpose – their proposed 60% THC cap.
James Pepper, chair of the Cannabis Control Board, said a 60% THC cap on concentrates would give “the illicit market a monopoly on supplying the demand for these products.”
“There is a very broad consensus among regulators that caps are a bad idea. A black market will fill this gap. They’ll do so using very dangerous products.” – Pepper to VT Digger
State Sen. Dick Sears (D) pointed out that nearby Massachusetts doesn’t have a THC cap and that he would like to see an investigation by the Cannabis Control Board on the impact of the cap on unregulated and out-of-state sales, were it to be included in the law.
The state Department of Health initially sought THC caps but last month David Englander, the agency’s senior policy and legal advisor, wrote a message to Chair of the House Committee on Human Services Rep. Ann Pugh (D) backing eliminating the cap, saying producers would have to use diluting additives to remain under the threshold; however, a day later, Englander sent another message to Pugh, saying the department instead backed the cap.
“The risk to users of high levels of THC are significant and we should not risk contributing to the known risks to consumers’ physical and mental health,” Englander said in his second email. “My communication of yesterday to you was based on incomplete information. All errors are mine and please accept my apologies to you and the committee.”
The Health Department has not commented on the reversal.
The Vermont Senate has moved to a conference committee to reconcile the differences between the House and Senate versions of the bills. Adult-use cannabis sales are expected to commence in October.
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