VT News Roundup: CCB Background Check Notes, Ferrisburgh + Manchester Discuss Zoning for Pot Businesses, Cannabis Still Illegal in NH

Vermont Marijuana News
Heady Vermont Staff 18 May 2022

Control Board Update: Background Checks

As of May 13, 2022 the Vermont Cannabis Control Board (CCB) had received 182 new application submissions. 

During the May 16 CCB meeting, attendees raised concerns around a recent board announcement about background checks – and the $475 fee attached to them. 

The CCB uses a third-party vendor (CSI) to run full licensure background checks that make applicants eligible for a license. This background check differs, however, from the Summary Background Check that is obtained by the individual directly. In the case of any licensing, not just cannabis, the Summary Background Check is not sufficient for obtaining a license – although it does suffice for pre-qualification intents and purposes.

According to board member Julie Hulburd, including the second background check is intended to show that Vermont’s adult-use cannabis program rules are in line with FinCEN guidelines adopted from the Cole Memo and “to deprioritize Vermont’s program in the eyes of federal enforcement agencies.”

With limited funding, the Board said, they are seeking to subsidize the fee for as many small outdoor cultivators as possible. In an email to Heady Vermont staff, Hulburd said, “Applicants need to be as clear and thorough in their application as possible. This will aid CSI in moving through background checks as quickly and thoroughly as possible. Unfortunately, that won’t change the total cost, but it will assist in moving through the licensing process.”

Hulburd expressed disappointment with the time it took the FBI to come to this decision. This disappointment, she said, stems from the fact that the legislative counsel who assisted with the drafting of Act 164 used language that the FBI found acceptable in other adult-use states.

Ferrisburgh Planning Commission Subcommittee Evaluates Zoning Options for Cannabis Businesses

FERRISBURGH — By August, or possibly November, Ferrisburgh could have new zoning in place to establish where in town cannabis retailers can set up shop and growers can plant their crops. A public vote on any new zoning laws is required.

A Ferrisburgh Planning Commission subcommittee is now working on cannabis zoning laws, which according to state law is essentially the only way municipalities may locally regulate cannabis sellers, growers and manufacturers.

Ferrisburgh Zoning Administrator Steven True, joined in the subcommittee by Jean Richardson, Gail Blasius and Arabella Holzapfel, has helped research what the town can and cannot do in dealing with cannabis businesses. He has twice updated the selectboard at recent meetings and spoke to the Independent last week.

— Via Addison County Independent

In a final attempt this session, NH Senate fails again to legalize cannabis

CONCORD — The New Hampshire Senate this week voted down an amendment that would have legalized the possession of up to three-quarters of an ounce of marijuana as well as three mature plants. A bill that would have legalized retail sales of cannabis at state-run liquor stores also died in the Senate earlier this year. New Hampshire remains the only state in northern New England that has not legalized the drug.

“People will be able to leave the state of New Hampshire and go into Maine, Massachusetts, and Vermont and spend their money there. They are not spending their money in the state of New Hampshire. Worse, the potential is that the people who are coming to New Hampshire for tourism reasons are going to begin to make some of their decisions on, if cannabis is my thing, where can I go get it easily,” said Rep. Tim Egan, D-Sugar Hill, a supporter of the measure.

He says they plan to reintroduce possession, homegrown, and retail sales bills again next year.

— Via WCAX

Manchester Select Board Approves Cannabis Zoning Changes

MANCHESTER — Legal cannabis cultivation, manufacturing and sales are coming to Manchester — and now the town zoning map lays out where those business can set up shop.

That’s thanks to the Manchester Select Board approving amendments to the town land-use and development ordinance, defining those businesses and laying out where they may operate, depending on their function. The changes passed by a 4-0 vote, with Select Board member Laurie Kunz abstaining because of a potential conflict of interest. (Kunz said she might have an interest in a future cannabis business.)

With the exception of retail sales, which towns have the option of approving by vote, cannabis businesses must be treated the same way as any other commercial entity, with no special conditions. But towns with zoning bylaws may apply rules to determine where those businesses can operate.

— Via Manchester Journal

Wilmington Approves Retail Cannabis, Again

WILMINGTON — Residents reaffirmed their support for retail cannabis in a 276-136 vote Tuesday.

On March 1, the town voted 173-85 in favor of allowing retail cannabis sales. The article was placed on the warning for annual Town Meeting Day after a petition was submitted by the owners of Ratu’s Liquor and Market, who want to sell cannabis in their downtown store.

A re-vote was scheduled for Tuesday after a successful petition drive by Charlotte Verry of Wilmington. Verry and other residents have concerns about how retail cannabis sales could affect the downtown culture, children’s safety and impaired driving.

Jennifer Betit-Engel, co-owner of Ratu’s, said she and her husband Christian Engel are “so excited” about the election results.

“This last month has been so stressful,” she said in a written statement. “What an incredible win! The win is not for us but for our town! Such a positive step forward for Wilmington!”

— Via Brattleboro Reformer

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