Licensing Update: Nine New Licenses Issued, Including One Retailer
MONTPELIER — Nine more licenses, including one retailer, were issued at today’s Vermont Cannabis Control Board meeting. In a progress report, regulators noted that they have now issued nearly 300 licenses for cannabis establishments and 300 employee ID cards, significant milestones for the agency as harvest season wanes and the end of the year approaches.
The following licenses were issued in today’s meeting:
- Mountain Grown Hemp Vermont, LLC – Outdoor Cultivator, Tier 1
- Bern Living Organics, LLC – Indoor Cultivator, Tier 2
- DRADIS – Mixed Cultivator, Tier 1
- TCD Enterprises, LLC – Indoor Cultivator, Tier 1
- Satori Investment Partners VT LLC – Manufacturers, Tier 3
- DBA Satori VT & Northeast Processing
- Satori Investment Partners VT LLC – Wholesalers
- DBA Satori VT & Northeast Processing
- Nek Gardens – Indoor Cultivator, Tier 2
- Purple Lark Farm, LLC – Manufacturers, Tier 2
- Brand name: Motherflower
- Forbins Reserve Inc. – Retailer
See licenses approved in last week’s Oct. 26 meeting.
Brief Progress Report
Considering that it has been a month since Vermont saw its first retail cannabis sales, Chair of the Board James Pepper shared a ‘brief progress report’ on the state of the retail market in the Green Mountains.
As of November 2, 2022 the Board has approved:
- 291 licenses total
- 255 of the 291 are cultivators; 75% of these cultivators are Tier 1 small cultivators
- 16 retail applications
- 14 retail licenses have been issued; 10 are currently open
- 300 employee ID cards
“[Vermont] has been known to have some of the highest quality growers in the region–if not the country–and now these folks are getting a paycheck for their expertise,” Pepper commented, alluding to the craftsmanship of the legacy market.
In line with other retail cannabis markets across the nation, Pepper went on to acknowledge the bottlenecks that have cropped up as the Vermont market progresses. These bottlenecks primarily stem from product manufacturing and the available testing capacity.
With only three licensed testing labs in the state, this gridlock was expected. However, it is projected to diminish as one of the three labs is actively expanding its capacity and there was another testing license issued last week.
Pepper offered another reminder that all products available for sale to the public must be registered and approved by the Board before they can be sold in stores. “A fundamental promise of the regulated market is that consumers know what is in the products they are purchasing,” Pepper asserted.
As this process is not optional, Pepper warned against stocking shelves with unregistered products. If this occurs, the Board will not hesitate to take action against the offense. The products in question will be pulled from the store, and the possibility of suspension or even license revocation is not out of the question.
The Board acknowledged the backlog of product registrations that need approval. Pepper claimed that the Board’s members work on streamlining this process every day for the sake of getting products in stores and ready for sale.
“It is incumbent upon everyone who is licensed to read [Board] rules and do their best to abide by them,” —Chair James Pepper
“[The Board] know[s] this industry is new and that there are going to be growing pains. There are some ambiguities in our rules and we know that there are some good faith mistakes that are being made,” Pepper recognized, “but, ignorance–especially intentional ignorance of our rules–is not an excuse.”
Any questions regarding product registration can be sent to [email protected].
Preservation of the Market
Pepper concluded his announcements by urging licensees to follow rules not only for the sake of doing what’s right but also for the sake of the market. Pepper personally testified before the legislature in favor of the market and is abundantly aware of skepticism and criticism that still exists.
“It will take only a handful of anecdotal evidence here in Vermont for people to demand [the retail cannabis market] be rolled back, or handed over to a small number of licensees that are easier to regulate,” Pepper warned.
Pepper’s final warning of the day was directed at individuals who are choosing to remain in the illicit market. He advised them not to use social media or apps that are widely available to the public. “When [the Board] gets complaints about these types of businesses, Compliance staff is going to start referring them for criminal investigation,” he stated.
He concluded by urging this group to contact the Board about entering the legal market, “It’s not as hard as you might think,” Pepper said.
Medical Cannabis Program
Social Equity Applications
Other Meeting Item(s):
- The Board will host a Q+A on Monday, November 21 at 7pm. The session will cover testing, inventory tracking, and product registration. The link to join will be posted on the Board’s website.
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