As KannaKnowledge previously reported, October 1st is the date when cannabis recreational sales become legal for Green Mountain State residents. But over the past months, frustration has been growing in the cannabis community about the glacially-slow pace of the state’s movement toward getting sales up and running.
So there was a loud round of applause, and sighs of relief, in recent days as the Cannabis Control Board finally issued its first adult-use license. The recipient was Rutland Craft Cannabis, a small indoor cultivator and a social equity applicant.
Acknowledging the delay in the licensing process, Cannabis Control Board Executive Director Brynn Hare was jubilant in announcing the milestone. “I feel like parliamentary procedure doesn’t give you an opportunity to celebrate small moments of joy, and this is kind of a small moment of joy,” Hare said.
Staffing delays had initially plagued the Board, but its members are hopeful they can pick up the pace in the coming weeks. Under the new state law requirements, the Board must review all Social Equity and Economic Empowerment applications before they can move on to non‑Equity applicants. 13 Equity applications are currently in the pipeline, and 29 have been passed back as incomplete.
Only two applications have been received so far for integrated licenses —offered to existing medical cannabis dispensaries wishing to also sell to the recreational market. One is from a Curaleaf-owned dispensary, Vermont Patients Alliance, and the other from a Slang Worldwide‑owned dispensary chain CeresMED. It will be some time before either of these applications make it to the consideration stage, as they must contend with the social equity priority plus the additional requirement for corporate applications that third-party background checks be conducted all principals.
In addition, outdoor cannabis growers who’ve submitted applications are getting anxious, now that warm weather has arrived and it’s time to plant their crops for October sales. So instead of celebrating the licensing start, they are using the occasion to apply pressure. Nonetheless, cannabis marketers are continuing their plans to hold a major event — Vermont Cannabis Week — from October 1st through 8th. Direct-to-consumer farmers markets will take place, and regional marketing campaigns to showcase small product manufacturers and independent businesses will be launched.