Retail marijuana will be on the ballot in some 20 Vermont communities this Town Meeting Day, including Burlington, Montpelier, Brattleboro, Winooski, and Waterbury. You won’t be seeing any dispensaries or retail stores pop up by next week, or even the end of this year.
“This is literally the first step in the process,” said Gwynn Zakov, policy advocate for the Vermont League of Cities and Towns. “So we won’t even see any applications let alone operations to set up in a brick and mortar setting until 2022.”
The league represents the nearly 250 municipalities around the state. Zakov says many communities are not in a rush to vote on this as the state’s cannabis control board is still being finalized, which will determine many regulations for this new industry. She says she will advocate for towns to create a local tax on the sales so they get a piece of the pie when it comes to income.
“I think there’s a lot of confusion out there that this is going to be a huge economic driver for a lot of communities,” Zakov said. “But all of that money is going to go to the state.”
Cannabis advocates, on the other hand, are eager to see this retail market unfold.
“This is not a black market industry any longer,” said Timothy Fair, an attorney at Vermont Cannabis Solutions. “If an adult chooses to consume, they should know what they’re getting, they should know they re getting a safe product without any pesticides.”
Andrew Subin and Fair are attorneys specializing in cannabis law, who founded Vermont Cannabis Solutions. They, too, want to see the legislature get to work on the rules, and drafting applications. They’ll be standing by to support people wanting to open cannabis businesses. The pair say it will rejuvenate Vermont agriculture and be yet another charm of the Green Mountain State, like its craft beer, maple, and foliage.
“They’re gonna come to Vermont for its craft cannabis,” Subin said. “The high quality, small batch, hand grown.”
Retail cannabis shops will be able to open in October of 2022.