In a few weeks, voters across Vermont will have some big decisions to make on Town Meeting Day, including whether or not to opt-in for retail cannabis sales.
Essex resident Meredith Mann is the co-owner of Magic Mann, a Vermont-based CBD business that opened ast January. Mann plans on voting to approve cannabis sales in Essex. She’s been passing free lawn signs to encourage others to support the measure.
“In a regulated environment, we can educate and teach people other than what they have,” says Mann. “We’d like to see the black market fade out.”
Only those 21 and older would be allowed to purchase cannabis products. Mann says without permission to sell, her customers are going elsewhere, including Maine and Massachusetts.
“People are going to find a way to get cannabis, regardless,” she said. “We might as well regulate it and give them safe, responsible options.”
Another Essex resident John Lang grows cannabis with his son at Lang Farm in Essex and also plans on voting yes. “In my opinion, there’s no negative,” said Lang. “It’s better to embrace it, to treat it like alcohol. As long as it’s education, education, education — that’s everything.”
Vermont State Rep. Arthur Peterson, (R-Rutland-2), is shaping the cannabis conversation with Bill H-164 and says towns should not only have a say in the retail end, but operations as well. “I feel the populous of the town ought to have input in whether to be part of a product that is federally illegal,” he said.
Lang says he hopes his town will welcome it. “Cannabis should be left to the people who are the farmers, people who have been working in the trenches, making this all happen.”
Vermont’s retail cannabis market is scheduled to go into effect in October.