Vermont’s Marijuana for Symptom Relief Oversight Committee is supposed to meet at least twice a year for the purpose of evaluating and making recommendations to the Legislature.
Unfortunately, no meetings took place in 2020. The last meeting of 2019, on December 12, was with Lindsey Wells, Marijuana Program Administrator. Topics discussed and noted in the minutes included:
- Potential impacts of proposed legislative amendments
- Allowing Vermont dispensaries to serve patients registered in other states
- Advertising restrictions
- Guidelines for cannabis educational information
- Testing requirements
- Increasing the number of patients a registered caregiver may assist
These are all important issues which deserve deep and thorough consideration. But the committee didn’t meet in 2020 and the 2019 report, which would have advocated to increase plant count, caregiver patient count, reciprocity, and lab testing, was never submitted to the legislature prior to any attempt to make or pass a bill for Vermont to regulate and tax an adult use market.
That is a lot of important - yet missing - information that was never passed on to the legislature while the state formed its cannabis laws.
The committee met for the first time in over a year on January 6, 2021. New Program Administrator, John Gonyea, Deputy Director/ISO, VT Crime Information Center was appointed as the official designee of the Commissioner.
The first matter of business was electing a new chair (patient representative Jim Romanoff) and vice-chair (Dr. Joe McSherry, who was the previous chair, Vermont Medical Society appointed to the committee).
The committee met again on January 21, 2021 to finalize the 2019 legislative report. The committee will meet this week on February 11 at 1pm to finalize the 2019 and 2020 recommendations.
It is my hope that this committee will submit both the 2019 and 2020 annual reports, and that the committee, which has been the ONLY way Vermont patients have had a voice in the medical marijuana program, continues to exist as Vermont begins to develop its adult use regulated market.
Please consider contacting your representatives and legislators and let them know that patient representation and feedback must continue be part of the Vermont cannabis program.