Licensing Update: Control Board Issues Nine New Licenses Including Four Retailers
MONTPELIER – Access to regulated retail cannabis in Vermont continues to grow with the issuing of nine new adult-use cannabis licenses at today’s Vermont Cannabis Control Board meeting. From Bennington to Barton, four new retailers, one cultivator, and four manufacturers are being welcomed into the state’s nascent marketplace.
- Mr. Z Craft Cannabis Inc. – Indoor Cultivator, Tier 3
- Simple VT, LLC – Manufacturer, Tier 1
- D.B.A YUT Soda
- Encore Herbals, LLC – Manufacturer, Tier 1
- Green Mountain Hash, LLP – Manufacturer, Tier 2
- D.B.A. Low-key Alchemy, D.B.A. Luna Xochitl
- Tilia Processing, LLC – Manufacturer, Tier 3
- Juniper Lane, LLC – Retailer
- Native East, LLC – Retailer
- D.B.A. Winooski Organics
- Capital Cannabis Company Inc. – Retailer
- Kingdom Kind – Retailer
See licenses approved in last week’s Oct. 12 meeting.
General Announcements & Reminders
Approved vs. Issued
The Board would like to remind applicants that they are not permitted to operate until their “actual CCB license is in their hands.” Before a license is officially issued to an applicant, their application must be “approved.”
Application approval indicates an application is complete and ready to be recommended for licensure. Approval does not permit the sale or gifting of cannabis products and is the final step before an official license is issued.
Licenses are issued once all tax and insurance documents are sent to the Board. Do not attempt to procure these documents until application approval as the Vermont Tax Department will not register a business until it is approved by the Board.
Every product being sold to the public must be registered and approved by the Board. Board members want to ensure that every product available to consumers is compliant with Board testing protocols, approved ingredients list, labeling and advertising, and packaging requirements.
“Oversight over the products being sold is the fundamental promise of a regulated market,” Board Chair James Pepper reminded viewers. He went on to declare the Board’s zero-tolerance policy for unregistered products and shared that the Board has already pulled several unregistered/non-compliant products off the shelves of retailers.
Although product gifting and giveaways were viable branding options prior to the taxation and regulation of cannabis, these tactics are no longer permitted in the regulated market. Since cannabis is now a taxed product, licensed retailers are the only entities allowed to sell cannabis. No other licensee may sell or transfer cannabis to the public.
Diverting cannabis to the illicit market, bundling cannabis with other products to avoid taxation, and providing cannabis free of charge with the purchase of another product are all forbidden under statutory prohibition.
“Oversight over the products being sold is the fundamental promise of a regulated market,” – Chair of the Board James Pepper
A limited amount of giveaways between licensees only has been authorized by the Board through the Board’s sampling provisions. All samples exchanged between licensees must be tracked through Inventory Tracking.
Home grow gifting is still permitted, however, the advertisement or promotion of these gifts is considered a crime.
Inventory Tracking FAQ
“A big thank you goes out from the Board to those licensees who have successfully entered their inventory tracking,” said Executive Director of the Board Brynn Hare. “As of today, most of our cultivation licensees have successfully entered data into our inventory tracking system.”
Hare continued by explaining how the inventory tracking system will allow the Board to verify cultivator plant counts against the numbers collected by the Compliance Team during site visits. Further, it will aid in analyzing “how Vermont is doing on a plant basis” compared to other states.
Originally, the Board had a scheduled Q+A session on inventory tracking with Director of Compliance Cary Giguere. In light of the fact that Giguere came down with a case of the coronavirus, the Board voted to amend the meeting agenda, instead sharing frequently asked questions on the topic.
Cannabis Inventory Tracking Q+A
Question: Can I enter the dry weight of my product in a few weeks?
Answer: “Yes. Enter all the data you have now and update it using the same harvest lot number as you collect additional data. The system is designed to be updated throughout the plant’s grow cycle.”
Question: As a cultivator, do I have to do inventory tracking every 2 weeks even if nothing has changed?
Answer: “Yes. That is true now and will continue to be true when we have the next iteration of our inventory tracking system. It is advised that everyone check in with the system every 2 weeks to stay familiar with the system. A report that nothing has changed is totally fine and is expected. Cary (Director of Compliance) noted there were several cultivators who forgot how many males they pulled. That is an example of something that wouldn’t be forgotten if people were checking in with the system every 2 weeks.”
Question: Can you help me understand Harvest Lots and Process Lots?
Answer: “These terms can be found in [the Board’s] guidance. Definitions are as follows: Harvest Lot is all cannabis that’s grown in the same manner (same fertilizer schedule, pesticide application schedule, and flowering schedule). Harvest Lot may contain one or multiple cultivars of cannabis. Each Harvest Lot needs to be tested for pesticides and pathogens. Growers decide how many Harvest Lots they have depending on what works best for their individual business practice.
Process lots are whole or partial Harvest Lots that follow different paths towards market or are diverted into waste. Process Lot number are the Harvest Lot numbers with a different sequential number coming after it.”
Question: What test do I need for my Process Lot smokeable flower?
Answer: “The 3 P’s: THC potency, pesticides, and pathogen testing. Potency has to be below 30% on flower that’s offered for retail sale. Any cannabis that’s positive for aspergillum can’t enter the market as smokeable flower but it may be offered for extraction.”
Check out the Guidance tab of the Board’s website for a more thorough list of questions and guidelines.
In the spirit of facilitating some of the licensee requirements, a long-form live Q+A on inventory tracking, product registration and testing will be hosted by Board staff in November.
Social Equity Applications
License Applications (as of 10/18/22)
Hare pointed out how low numbers in the ‘Submitted’ and ‘Received’ categories are, save for Employee ID Card applications. “New applications coming in are primarily Employee ID Cards and our other license type applications have largely slowed down,” she said.
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