Licensing Update: Three More Cultivation Licenses Issued by Vermont Cannabis Control Board
MONTPELIER — “Here in Vermont, [the board] was seated on April 19, 2021. Thirteen months from that, almost to the date, we issued our first license,” Cannabis Control Board Chair James Pepper said at the beginning of today’s meeting.
He went on to recall the timeframes under which New Jersey and Massachusetts operated and how, despite a substantial disparity in funding, Vermont’s timeline does not differ much. New Jersey, for instance, issued its first license seventeen months after its Board was appointed. Pepper asked that any frustrations not be taken out on the Board’s staff as they had no hand in statute or rule formation.
“We have to balance the need to move quickly with the need to do this job safely, effectively and equitably,” Pepper noted as he explained the lengthy bureaucratic process involved in hiring government positions. The Board expects to approve another three licenses today.
“We have to balance the need to move quickly with the need to [approve applications] safely, effectively and equitably,” said Chair James Pepper.
Fee waiver requests were another topic of discussion at today’s Control Board meeting and are starting to become a “common theme” according to Pepper. He also reminded folks that the Board must work under the jurisdiction of the Legislature, meaning members are not able to make decisions that reach beyond what is laid out in statute, including waiving fees.
However, the Board has delineated a few areas within its regulations that may allow for fee waivers on a case-by-case basis. Requests of this nature will only be considered after the applicant has shown legitimate attempts to overcome barriers provided by certain fees without success. Before waiving a fee, the Board needs “to see that you made a good faith effort to comply with the regulations,” said Pepper.
As of today, the Board has received eighteen new pre-qualification applicants. There are five cultivators, five manufacturers, one wholesale and seven retail applicants. In total, 145 applicants have been pre-qualified since applications opened.
All three licenses set to be approved today fall under the definition of Social Equity Status. 29 of the 37 Social Equity applications received by the Board are still incomplete. One application was denied due to the fact that the applicant does not meet the criteria for Social Equity Status.
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