Licensing Update: A Record 63 Cannabis Licenses Issued; Over 200 Now Licensed As Control Board Readies for Fall
MONTPELIER – Though the Vermont Cannabis Control Board took a two-week break from meetings, it was apparent they were busy in August, approving a record 63 licenses in today’s meeting. For the first time, that number included manufacturers and wholesalers.
Today’s license approvals included a slew of cultivators, three manufactures and two wholesalers. After today, more than 200 Vermont cannabis licenses have been approved by the Board.
Board members also addressed licensing and enforcement, retail applications, updated market projections, banking (including the VSECU news), inventory tracking and testing guidance.
In its August 10 meeting, 19 new cultivation licenses were issued, and the board addressed enforcement and pending cultivation licenses, fall retailer rollout and packaging.
License holders approved in the August 31, 2022 meeting (full text list at the bottom of the article).
Clarification on Law Enforcement: “What You Are Doing is a Crime”
Control Board Chair James Pepper issued a stern word of warning to cultivators still waiting on licensing, clarifying guidance the agency provided earlier in August. He made it clear that while the Control Board will not penalize in-progress applicants “adhering to the limits of their license,” the Board has no control over what law enforcement agencies, of which there are around 100 in Vermont, may do within their jurisdictions.
The Board has no control over what law enforcement agencies, of which there are around 100 in Vermont, may do within their jurisdictions.
“What you are doing is a crime, you are in criminal jeopardy if you’re growing more than the home grow limits without a license,” Pepper said. “The point I was making was that the CCB will not penalize you.”
Those with pending applications, he said, should remain compliant with regulations like inventory tracking, advertising restrictions, pesticide use and all other rules, and be making a “good faith” effort to complete their applications. They also can’t be “committing other crimes,” like selling product to the public before October 1, or to youth.
“We asked the legacy market to go legal and we’re not gonna punish the very people that took us up on our offer,” Pepper noted.
He did say that, while the cannabis board is not a law enforcement agency, if it receives a complaint or observed evidence of a violation, a compliance team will conduct an investigation. There could be no action, or a fine, or suspension of a license. or any number of other actions listed in Rule Four.
In very rare cases, the Board may need to refer the matter to a law enforcement agency (the Department of Liquor and Lottery).
Updated Market Projections
Pepper shared updated projections on the market, plugging raw data into a market analysis model, which is now posted on the Control Board website.
The current model, updated earlier in August with the latest licensee data, projects around 350,000 square feet of canopy with the current number of licensees. There is about the same amount of canopy left in pending applications, for a total of 700,000 square feet of canopy.
Right now, the data is skewed heavily outdoor because of the order in which the board has issued applications, standing at about 35% indoor and 65% outdoor.
Pepper noted that the model does not take into account seasonal market fluctuations due to harvest. “This kind of seasonal split can lead to pricing instability,” he said.
He also encouraged cultivators to start thinking now about processing, extracting, testing and storage options.
Pepper addressed the VSECU pause on new cannabis bank accounts and that it is most likely temporary, a few weeks or months. In the meantime, there are a few other banking options that the Board will add to its website.
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The Board is taking a “slightly different direction” for its inventory tracking than other states. “This system is a lot less intensive than some other inventory tracking platforms,” said Pepper. “You’re not going to need to put RFID tags on every plant or update your inventory each day.”
Licensees will have different sets of data points depending on their license type and will need to report them at regular intervals via their existing Control Board logins.
The board will then track that data and analyze it for compliance, suspicious activity and other areas.
Until the inventory tracking is ready, there will be an interim form that license holders can use which should hopefully be ready by next week.
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In today’s meeting, 63 cultivator, wholesaler and manufacturing licenses of various tiers were approved. Here are the latest licensing numbers as presented by the Board, along with social equity and medical program applicants:
There were nine social equity status applicants up for review in today’s meeting, which the Board reviewed in a 40-minute Executive Session. Four were approved, four were denied and one had a presumptively disqualifying offense but was approved.
Medical Cannabis Program
Other Meeting Items
- RETAIL: The Board has begun its review of retail applications. Reminder that the retail applications are complicated and require jurisdictional input from “many agencies.” October 1 remains the target date but “we can’t make any promises.” – Pepper
- TESTING GUIDANCE: The Board has posted guidance for testing requirements in the form of a flow chart, available here.
- BACKGROUND CHECKS: When you’re submitting a background check please provide actual contact info for the principals or owners that will be having a background check run, not just the law firm representing your business. The lack of contact info is “creating a bottleneck” and slowing down the overall process.
- FALL MEETING SCHEDULE: The board will continue meeting Wednesdays at 1 for the most part through the end of 2022, with some exceptions for holidays. Look out for this update in our Vermont events section soon.
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Licenses approved in today’s meeting:
- Vermont Kind
- Green Mountain Dreams
- Central Vermont Cannabis Ltd Co
- Green Fish Family Farm
- SA Cultivation
- Crescent Moon Farm
- Florist VT
- Green Mountain Gardens
- High Altitude Cannabis
- Verdiggity Living Organic
- Smugglers Notch Cannabis Company
- Far Away Farm
- Cannabis Dream Nursery
- Northeast Kingdom Cannabis
- The Cannabinist
- Smoke Ranch
- Boon Botanicals
- King Cola
- Little Garden
- Legacy Vermont Cannabis
- DRT Cultivation
- Double Black Grow Company
- Stash Farm
- In the Weeds
- Northern Green
- Vermont Cannabliss
- Green Heron Farm
- Sweet Rhapsody
- Tree Frog Farms
- Sunset Lake Cannabis
- Vermont Vital Cultivars
- Farmers Underground
- Wolf Creek Farm
- Grease Line Cannabis
- Ammanana Growers
- Double Diamond
- Choice Terp
- Say Good Organics, Inc.
- Swift Hawk Canna
- American Beauty
- Bubbling Brook VT
- Green Mountain Cannabis Cultivators
- Laughing Woods Farm
- Jeezum Crow Bud Company
- Horseshoe Farms
- Green River Cannabis Company
- Naked Hemp
- FLÖRA Cannabis (Wholesaler)
- Dalen Ltd. (Manufacturer Tier 2)
- Family Tree (Manufacturer Tier 2)
- Mend Botanical (Wholesaler)
- Casa Guarne Farms
- Fog Valley Farm (Manufacturer Tier 2)
- Gnarly Tree Cannabis
- Vermont New Heirloom Genetics
- SUN DAY FARMS
- Tilia Hills
- Red Clover Canopies, Inc.