Some Vermont Towns to Allow Cannabis Retail

Nearly two-dozen towns and other jurisdictions in Vermont have approved adult-use cannabis retail operations in recent town meetings.

Full story after the jump.

More than 20 Vermont communities have approved adult-use cannabis operations in recent town meetings, according to the Associated Press. Vermont is taking a local approach to rolling out its adult-use cannabis system. Instead of outright legalization across the state, voters can approve the adult-use industry on a town-by-town basis. Once a town votes in favor, businesses can apply for retail licenses, which are then considered by a state board.

According to the report, at least three towns have “rejected” cannabis sales, but most recently a surge of communities including Bennington, Brattleboro, Burlington, Montpelier, Vergennes, Waterbury, and Winooski added their names to the “approve” column.

Vermont’s adult-use cannabis journey looks a bit different from a lot of states. The Legislature legalized cannabis possession and home cultivation in 2018. However, the state failed to pass regulations for the commercial production and distribution of cannabis. The legislature later returned and passed a tax-and-regulate bill last year, which Gov. Phil Scott (R) allowed to pass into law without his signature.

Rather than a veto, the governor expressed his concerns to the Senate via letter, writing that the state’s licensing structure will “disproportionately benefit Vermont’s existing medical dispensaries by giving them sole access to integrated licenses and an unfair head start on market access.

“This creates an inequitable playing held both for our smaller minority and women-owned business applicants, and other small Vermont growers and entrepreneurs,” the governor wrote.

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