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Vermonters are healthy

% of adults using cannabis who use 10 or more days per month

Current Value




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Story Behind the Curve

Updated: February 2023

Author: Division Substance Use Programs, Vermont Department of Health

Cannabis, also known as marijuana, use among Vermonters is consistently among the highest in the country and is the highest for 12-17 and 18–25 year-olds. Legal status of cannabis in Vermont has changed significantly over the past two decades. In 2004, the Vermont legislature voted to legalize the use of cannabis for medical purposes and in 2013 penalties for possession of one ounce or less were reduced to a fine. In July 2018, legislation went into effect legalizing possession, private consumption, and limited cultivation among persons aged 21 years and older. Most recently, Vermont's regulated market opened in 2022 and people age 21 and over are now able to purchase cannabis products in Vermont. Cannabis remains illegal at the federal level.


The epidemiological literature in the past 20 years shows that cannabis use increases the risk of accidents and can produce dependence.  There are also consistent associations between regular cannabis use and poor psychosocial outcomes and mental health in adulthood, impaired respiratory function, cardiovascular disease, and residual cognitive impairment.


In Vermont, the use of cannabis on one or two days and three to nine days has both decreased since 2011, suggesting a general shift towards regular cannabis use instead of more casual use.  

Why Is This Important?

Vermont adults who recently used cannabis are generally more likely to have poor health, compared with those who have not used cannabis.  A similar pattern is seen when comparing regular cannabis users, and less frequent users. Particularly striking are differences in reported poor mental health between recent and nonrecent cannabis users and regular and nonregular users.  Recent and regular cannabis users are more than twice as likely to report poor mental health than their non/less frequent cannabis user counterparts.   These differences are statistically significant and remain when age is accounted for.


Vermont cannabis Health Impact Asssessment


  • Colleges
  • Physicians
  • Department of Mental Health
  • Substance Use Prevention Coalitions
  • Families

What Works

Screening for cannabis use and for assessment and treatment, prevention programming, communications campaigns, continued legal sanctions on possession and use of cannabis.

Notes on Methodology

The Vermont Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, or BRFSS, has included questions on cannabis use in each year since 2007 except 2014, allowing us to assess recent use, as well as changes over time.  Additional information is available in the BRFSS report.



Literature review update to the HIA: Marijuana Regulation in Vermont


Information included on this page drew from research and the established literature. For more information, please see:


The Adverse Health Effects of Chronic Marijuana Use, Hall, et al. 


The Health Effects of Cannabis and Cannabinoids: The Current State of Evidence and Recommendations for Research, an expert, ad hoc committee of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine presents nearly 100 conclusions related to the health effects of cannabis and cannabinoid use.


Vermont Health Impact Assessment

Clear Impact Suite is an easy-to-use, web-based software platform that helps your staff collaborate with external stakeholders and community partners by utilizing the combination of data collection, performance reporting, and program planning.

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