CCB

Licensing Update: Control Board Picks Up The Pace, Approving 30 Licenses

Ella Guinan 13 Jul 2022

MONTPELIER – Thirty cultivator applications, the highest number to date, were approved for licensure at today’s Vermont Cannabis Control Board meeting:

  • Birdman Vermont
    • Indoor Cultivator Tier 1 (Small Cultivator)
  • Cleary Farm Cannabis LLC
    • Outdoor Cultivator Tier 1 (Small Cultivator)
  • Life Arises Farm LLC
    • Outdoor Cultivator Tier 1 (Small Cultivator)
  • Bud Bird Farm
    • Outdoor Cultivator Tier 1 (Small Cultivator)
  • Dirt Rich Farms, LLC
    • Mixed Cultivator Tier 1 (Small Cultivator)
  • 1958. LLC
    • Mixed Cultivator Tier 1 (Small Cultivator)
  • Highly Rooted
    • Outdoor Cultivator Tier 1 (Small Cultivator)
  • Brookfield Buds LLC
    • Outdoor Cultivator Tier 1 (Small Cultivator)
  • TrichomeVT
    • Outdoor Cultivator Tier 1 (Small Cultivator)
  • Grass Queen, Inc.
    • Indoor Cultivator Tier 2
  • Vermont LTC Grow
    • Outdoor Cultivator Tier 1 (Small Cultivator)
  • Peanut’s Garden LLC
    • Outdoor Cultivator Tier 1 (Small Cultivator)
  • Encore Herbals LLC
    • Outdoor Cultivator Tier 1 (Small Cultivator)
  • El Pasic Farm
    • Outdoor Cultivator Tier 1 (Small Cultivator)
  • Backwoods Cultivation, Backwoods Farm
    • Outdoor Cultivator Tier 1 (Small Cultivator)
  • Sun Road Farms LLC; Sun Road Farms
    • Outdoor Cultivator Tier 1 (Small Cultivator)
  • High Noon Cultivators LLC
    • Outdoor Cultivator Tier 1 (Small Cultivator)
  • Montwood Hollow LLC
    • Outdoor Cultivator Tier 1 (Small Cultivator)
  • Last Minute Farm LLC
    • Outdoor Cultivator Tier 1 (Small Cultivator)
  • Midnight Farm
    • Mixed Cultivator Tier 1 (Small Cultivator)
  • Big Budz LLC
    • Outdoor Cultivator Tier 1 (Small Cultivator)
  • Phyto Physic, LLC
    • Outdoor Cultivator Tier 1 (Small Cultivator)
  • Cannamentals
    • Outdoor Cultivator Tier 1 (Small Cultivator)
  • Teatime Herbal Company, LLC
    • Outdoor Cultivator Tier 1 (Small Cultivator)
  • Green of Green Farms, LLC
    • Outdoor Cultivator Tier 1 (Small Cultivator)
  • 45 North Nurseries
    • Outdoor Cultivator Tier 1 (Small Cultivator)
  • Serene Products
    • Outdoor Cultivator Tier 1 (Small Cultivator)
  • Hidden Leaf Homestead
    • Outdoor Cultivator Tier 1 (Small Cultivator)
  • Full Circle Farm, LLC
    • Mixed Cultivator Tier 4
  • Vermontijuana
    • Outdoor Cultivator Tier 1 (Small Cultivator)

Projections

Chair James Pepper began today’s meeting with an overview of the Board’s original projections for the state’s cannabis market. “The original economist who developed the model is going to be plugging in our data to help give a snapshot of how the market is taking shape. We use that data to really determine things like where backlogs might be developing,” Pepper explained.

This is an important tool for the Board, he said, because it allows them to better understand if, for instance, the Board should open larger license types or create new ones license types to satisfy the market. 

“This [square footage] target included a number of assumptions that aren’t necessarily holding true.” – Chair James Pepper

Pepper went on to discuss the “tremendous buy-in” of both small and larger cultivators. If every pending cultivation application was approved, the available canopy in the state would exceed 600,000 square ft. The targeted square footage that the Board’s models called for is closer to 450-500,000 square feet.

“This target included a number of assumptions that aren’t necessarily holding true,” Pepper noted. The latter figure puts a greater emphasis on indoor cultivation which appears to be far less popular among applicants than originally projected. If the trend towards outdoor cultivation continues, Pepper said the Board will need to license more canopy in order to meet the demands of the market.

“That 450-500,000 [sq ft] is assuming all that is flowering canopy and that every licensed square foot is used for flowering canopy and that’s just not going to be the case,” he said. Legislative updates will also have an impact on canopy size demand. 

Priorities for Legislative Action

The Board has begun to compile a list of priorities for legislative action. At the top of this list is the state’s medical program. 

“Everyone here at the Board recognizes that the laws regulating our medical program desperately need attention,” said Pepper. The Board is aiming to solidify concrete policy recommendations for the Legislature throughout the summer and fall of this year. Although their recommendations last year fell on deaf ears, the Board stands firm in their goal to support the medical program no matter what.

Another priority the Board highlighted today is the issue of high THC solid concentrates. Pepper said the Board has gained “good traction” in the most recent legislative session around this issue. Pepper explained, “The conversation…started to shift from ‘whether or not to allow high THC solid concentrates’ to ‘how should the cannabis board regulate them.’” In December, the Board will issue a report to the Legislature on this topic. 

“Everyone here at the Board recognizes that the laws regulating our medical program desperately need attention,” – Chair James Pepper.

Pepper also shared the Board’s interest in continuing to push for other things such as delivery and event licensing. 

Additionally, the Board has chosen to prioritize the issue of the vape tax in Vermont. By putting an intense premium on the cost of vapes, this tax effectively bans vapes. Pepper voiced the Board’s concern with how this tax can easily lead to negative public health outcomes and plans present these concerns to the Legislature.

Packaging Updates

Board member Kyle Harris took time during today’s meeting to address some updates regarding packaging requirements and waivers. 

“We’re not making decisions by the seat of our pants or out of thin air. We do have a scoring matrix that we’re putting all of these [waiver requests] through,” Harris explained. The Board, he said, is very serious about eliminating plastic from the cannabis industry in Vermont. With that in mind, waivers will only be awarded to those who have earnestly tried every available alternative and come out unsuccessful.

In terms of packaging, the Board wants licensees of all types to consider “triple bottom-line benefits” i.e., social, environmental and economic benefits. Board members want to see a trend of accountability in the supply chain when it comes to plastic use. Harris urges applicants to consider this before submitting packaging waiver requests. 

“There are some major markets out there that are looking at what we’re trying to do here with open eyes to see if we can make any type of dent in the plastic issues that surround cannabis,” Harris noted. 

While not required for a request, providing a sample of applicant’s proposed packaging will expedite the Board’s review. Packaging waiver forms can be found here

“There are some major markets out there that are looking at what we’re trying to do [about plastic packaging] with open eyes to see if we can make any type of dent in the plastic issues that surround cannabis,” – Kyle Harris

Point-of-Sale Flyers

Board Member Julie Hulburd gave updates on Point of Sale Flyers that will exist in every retail cannabis establishment. Point of Sale Flyers are used to communicate product information to consumers in-house. 

The process is near completion according to Hulburd and the Department of Health is currently conducting one last review of the flyer’s contents. The Board’s Advisory Committee, the Dept. of Health Subcommittee, members of the prevention community and the New England Poison Center all played roles in developing the language going into the flyer. 

The flyer’s contents will be discussed at a future Board meeting.

Licensure Updates

This week, the Adult-Use, Prequalification and Licensure Register looked different than past meetings, as Executive Director Brynn Hare added a section to highlight some “point-in-time data” on the medical program for the Board to review.

“This is a first attempt at providing useful information the Board and the public about what is going on with the medical program,” said Hare. The Board reported very little backlog on medical patient applications. Hare also voiced that the Board is open to any and all feedback on the contents of what viewers would like to see in the weekly register regarding the medical program.

Nearly sixty (60) applicants have had their applications either approved or licenses issued by the Board as of July 12, 2022. This does not include the 30 applications that were approved during today’s meeting.

Other Meeting Items:

  • Building codes and fire safety requirements cannot be waived by the Board as they are critical to the Board’s public safety mandate. For more information contact Landon Wheeler at 802-369-0949.
  • The majority of remaining applications that fall under Social Equity Status are either incomplete or have been resubmitted for review.

 

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