Those in the cannabis industry can now apply for pre-qualification, a voluntary process created by Vermont’s Cannabis Control Board to ensure prospective licenses are eligible to operate. Board Chair James Pepper says the process is like a background check.

It’s also a way to help the board understand the structure of the market, the number of manufacturers, retailers, and testing facilities in the state. Pepper says the application comes with many benefits. “We’ve heard a lot of banks, and towns and insurance companies all come forward and say if you’re a cannabis business, we only want to talk to you until you have something from the board that shows that you at least been preliminarily approved to operate.”

According to the board, pre-qualification is not a license to operate but a way to smooth the licensing process for market participants. An application and a $500 fee are required, and after that, licensees will have a year to seek a full license.