Licensing Update: 36 VT Applications Approved, Four of Them Retail, Product Registration Backlog Cleared
MONTPELIER — The Vermont Cannabis Control Board voted to approve the license applications of 36 cannabis establishments today, more than double the amount of approvals from last month. That number included 24 cultivators, eight manufacturers and four retail license applications.
License applications were approved for the following establishments on Monday, March 27, 2023:
- TRUE-802 Cannabis, Retailer (Burlington)
- Euphoria Cannabis, Retailer (Burlington)
- Kingdom Boyz, Retailer (Derby)
- Mary Jane Junction VT, Retailer (St. Albans)
- Black Mountain Magic, Indoor Cultivator Tier 1
- Truefella, Indoor Cultivator Tier 1
- Druid Flowers, Indoor Cultivator Tier 1
- Density, Indoor Cultivator Tier 1
- Burning Bush Industries, Indoor Cultivator Tier 1
- Decibel Forest, Indoor Cultivator Tier 1
- Cosmic Giggle Cannabis, Indoor Cultivator Tier 1
- Wookberry Farm LIC, Indoor Cultivator Tier 1
- Gas Factory, Indoor Cultivator Tier 2
- Seven Leaf Genetics, Indoor Cultivator Tier 2
- SA Cultivation , Manufacturers Tier 2
- Colibri Provisions, Manufacturers Tier 2
- Dirt Rich Farms, Manufacturers Tier 2
- Ferngully Farm, Manufacturers Tier 2
- Sedwin Cannabis, Manufacturers Tier 2
- The Clean Cannabis Company, Manufacturers Tier 2
- Gaston Weed Company, Manufacturers Tier 3
- Rutland Craft Cannabis LTD CO, Manufacturers Tier 3
- Farmhouse Cannabis LIC, Mixed Cultivator Tier 1
- Master Blaster Cultivators, Mixed Cultivator Tier 1
- Kind Green Insight, / Swift Hawk Canna, Mixed Cultivator Tier 1
- Ferngully Farm, Mixed Cultivator Tier 2
- Central Piedmont Cannabis Co. Ltd., Outdoor Cultivator Tier 1
- Paradise Shire, Outdoor Cultivator Tier 1
- Midsomer Green , Outdoor Cultivator Tier 1
- Windy Hill Farm, Outdoor Cultivator Tier 1
- Green Mountain Sativa, Outdoor Cultivator Tier 1
- Earthbound Genetics, Outdoor Cultivator Tier 1
- Greenmont Craft Cannabis Co, Outdoor Cultivator Tier 1
- Norsemen CBD, Outdoor Cultivator Tier 1
- Cola Crafting Farms, Outdoor Cultivator Tier 3
- Great Hill Growers, Outdoor Cultivator Tier 3
THC Exemption from State Vape Tax
Last week Vermont’s Budget Adjustment Act became law, which excludes cannabis and hemp products from the state’s 92% tax on vaping products. The wholesale tax will still be applied to THC vaping devices, including the empty cartridge, batteries and flower vapes. Changes take effect on July 1, 2023.
Chair of the Board James Pepper recommended that anyone dealing with vaping devices and/or cartridges refer to Board’s recent Q+A on the matter which can be found on the Vermont Cannabis Control Board YouTube page.
State Reference Lab
In light of recent testing compliance issues the Board is set to file a rule changing amendment with the Vermont Secretary of State. The amendment would allow for the creation of a state-run reference lab that will work to ensure all test results are accurate.
The Board reported today that the filling will be sent to the Secretary of State “very soon” and will initiate filings around public comment. Public comment meetings on the amendment will begin the week of May 8, 2023. If anyone has comments or concerns but can’t make it to the open meetings, written submissions will also be available.
Last month, the Board also announced, starting in the fall, pesticide and pathogen testing of each individual strain (instead of each harvest lot) will be required.
Seasonal Closure of Outdoor & Mixed-Use Cultivator License Application Window
As defined by statute, the Board has the authority to open and close application windows at the discretion of its members. Per staff recommendation, the Board voted to close the application window for Outdoor and Mixed Use Cultivator Licenses last month. The seasonal closure begins April 28 and will last until December 1, 2023.
This decision only applies to new, not existing, applicants. Existing licensees looking to apply for renewal will not be affected by the closure of the application window.
The thought behind this is that the Board wants to give folks certainty that they are licensed and able to legally grow. “If somebody is looking to submit an application in July, they probably wouldn’t get on the docket until September,” Kyle Harris noted. This timeline is potentially detrimental to the success of the cultivator, something Board members said they wished to avoid.
Tier 5 Concerns
During the public comment portion of last month’s meeting, multiple attendees voiced their concerns about Tier 5 cultivators. Due to the size (20,000 sq ft) of a Tier 5 licensee, many folks in the industry fear that just one or two cultivators of this size could effectively erase the market’s need for smaller cultivators.
Today, Pepper voiced that the Board understands why folks have worries about Tier 5 cultivators cornering the market and went on to explain why Tier 5 applications will remain open until further notice.
The Tier 5 application, Pepper explained, exists mainly due to the uncertainty of the Vermont cannabis market. Economists hired by the Board projected that the Vermont market could gross $200-250 million in one year. Based on the revenue reports available since the opening of the market, these numbers could be even larger.
With this in mind, the Board has allowed for a maximum of 20,000 sq. ft. cultivation sites to help meet demand with the hope that interest in cannabis cooperatives pops up down the line.
“In the event there was little interest in [smaller] license types, the Board also created larger tiers.” – Chair James Pepper
At this point in time, the Board has concluded that it is too early to remove the Tier 5 license option and that they will revisit the licensing structure early next year.
Product registration backlog has been dealt with and is officially nonexistent. The Board recognized the frustrations held by folks who have been waiting for approval and asked licensees to continue to exercise patience as the first full year of the market continues.
Potency, packaging, pesticides, and labeling are the biggest components of registration, according to Board Commissioner Kyle Harris.
Workforce Data Project
Beginning in April, the Board will start collecting data on the cannabis industry in Vermont.
One survey will be sent to registered Employee ID cardholders and and a separate survey will be sent to business owners. The idea behind this project is collect accurate data without being too burdensome. According to the Board, the employee survey will take no more than 10-15 minutes, while the business owner survey may take a bit longer.
Board Commissioner Julie Hulburd explained how most industries and organizations rely on federal or state-run statistics agencies that help maintain a healthy workforce. Due to the federal status of cannabis, these data points do not yet exist.
“This data can provide key indicators of overall market health. However, as we know all too well – these otherwise valuable resources are not available in the cannabis space yet.” – Julie Hulburd
The aim of the Board’s Workforce Data Project is to “gain insight on the impact that the cannabis industry has on the state economy as well as to collect reliable data on the skills available in the workforce and the skills needed by cannabis businesses.”
Licensing Data: Executive Director Report
The following supplemental screen grabs were taken directly from the slideshow made by Control Board Executive Director Brynn Hare.
Approved Vermont Cannabis License Applications: Monday, March 27, 2023
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