Autumn-colored leaves in a Vermont forest.

Sundar M

Vermont Brewer and Garden Supply Company Founder Apply for MMJ License

The founder of Vermont-based Magic Hat Brewing Company, Alan Newman, has partnered with the founder and chairman of Gardener’s Supply, Will Raap, hoping to secure the state’s fifth medical cannabis license, according to a VT Digger report. Newman and Raap are aiming to build their production facility in Randolph with dispensaries in Lyndonville and Winooski.

Newman and Raap are members of the Vermont Cannabis Collaborative, along with former Gov. Peter Shumlin’s chief of staff, who in 2015 released a report that purported a taxed-and-regulated cannabis industry in the state could create 4,000 direct and indirect jobs. The report cites a 2014 RAND Institute study that found Vermonters consume between 33,000 and 55,000 pounds of cannabis per year.

“A more accurate description of legalization is that it’s a way to regulate a currently large and uncontrolled economy,” the report says.

The duo indicated that they were hesitant to apply for a license because they assumed that the new license would go to a Bennington operator. At least one applicant has applied to operate in the city, which borders New York and is home to state Sen. Dick Sears — who has championed both the medical cannabis and adult-use cannabis bills, the latter of which was vetoed by Gov. Phil Scott in May over public safety concerns.

Raap and Newman have already negotiated leases on properties in the targeted areas in the event that their application is approved. They indicated that if they don’t secure a license this round they will reapply for the sixth state license which will be available when the state’s patient count reaches 7,000.

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