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LICENSING UPDATE: Social Equity Status Approved for Eight Applicants, 18 More Pre-Qualify Applications Okayed

Monica Donovan 2 May 2022

Editor’s Note: A previous Heady Vermont social media post incorrectly reported that eight social equity licenses had been approved in today’s Control Board meeting. However, only the social equity status of those applications has been approved as of today. 

MONTPELIER — During today’s regular meeting of the Vermont Cannabis Control Board, members approved the social equity status of eight cultivator applications, and approved 18 pre-qualification applications.

Chair James Pepper started off the meeting by recognizing the problems caused by delays.

“I’m acknowledging all of the hard work that Vermont growers have been putting in, not just putting their applications together but attending these meetings and providing feedback,” said Pepper. “We recognize that this delay impacts small cultivators and outdoor cultivators the most … and is critical to the success of market.”

“We recognize that this delay impacts small cultivators and outdoor cultivators the most … and is critical to the success of market.” — CCB Chair James Pepper

The control board released a statement on Friday addressing the delay and said they do “not anticipate a long delay in issuing licenses to qualified applicants.”

On a brighter note, Pepper added that the board had received a number of applications for the job postings they shared last week. “The jobs are going to be posted another five days, but we already have a number of people who can it the ground running both on the licensing and on the compliance side,” he said.

The Control Board is currently hiring to fill a number of positions, including licensing agent and deputy director of licensing. Job descriptions and more information on all positions may be found on the Vermont Department of Human Resources website.

The eight social equity applications, all Tier One cultivators, had their social equity status formally approved by the board.

The eight social equity applications, all Tier One cultivators, had their social equity status formally approved by the board, meaning these applicants have all been recognized to have met the definition and criteria for a social equity applicant. After motioning approval, the next step will be reviewing and approving the applications themselves.

In addition, members approved 18 pre-qualification applications, including including different tiers of cultivators and a testing lab.

This week the board will be reaching out to applicants via email about paying their application fees. Pepper warned licensees to be aware of scams and to only accept payment emails from [email protected]

“Please be very prudent when it comes to the process. We’re seeing scams that have happened already with respect to cannabis and fee payments,” he said, and encouraged people to call (802) 828-1010 Opt. 0 to report any fraudulent activity.

The board revealed last week that it had not received any applications for an “integrated” license, which is available only to the three out-of-state owners of Vermont’s medical cannabis dispensaries.

CeresMED, the largest medical dispensary in Vermont, posted this update on their site in late April:

While this is permitted by state regulations, CeresMED will not be ready to serve adult-use cannabis consumers on May 1st. While the official date on which we will begin adult-use sales is still up in the air, we expect it to be near October 1, 2022.

Under state law, holders of an integrated license are technically allowed to start selling on the adult-use retail market on May 1 — five months before other retailers, who will be allowed to open October 1.

Other updates shared in the May 2 CCB meeting:

  • The board shared contact info for banking and insurance providers.
  • Contact info was also shared for the Department of Public Safety / Division of Fire Safety.
  • Tax guidance is available online via the Vermont Department of Taxes.

Applications are currently open for all cultivation tiers (except Tier Six, the largest). The pre-qualification application window closes on May 31.

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