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Vermont Legalizes Cannabis Sales After Lengthy Delay

October 13, 2020

Vermont legalized cannabis sales last week when Governor Phil Scott allowed legislation to go into effect without signing it into law himself. The state originally legalized possession, use, and cultivation in 2017 but did not establish a sales regime at that time. The market is not expected to become operational until October 2022, according to a timeline from the state legislature.

The new law establishes a Cannabis Control Board as an independent commission within the executive branch as the primary authority governing cannabis businesses in Vermont. The board will be obliged to create a system to prioritize applicants based on a number of factors, including minority or female ownership or plans to employ people disproportionately impacted by cannabis prohibition. Outdoor cultivation will be allowed.

The law limits flower potency to 30% THC and bans cannabis oil except for vape pen cartridges, which are limited to flavors naturally occurring in cannabis. A single packaged item cannot exceed 50 mg of THC, though medical marijuana products are exempt from these limitations. Recreational products will be taxed at 20% overall—including a 14% excise tax plus the state’s 6% sales tax, with no local tax option allowed.

Annual adult-use sales could reach $228 million in the market’s first full year in 2023, according to one estimate, which also predicts that 90% of consumers will transition to the regulated market by 2025.

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