BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) – Voters from Burlington to Brattleboro on Tuesday gave the greenlight to allow local cannabis sales under the state’s new marijuana marketplace law.
As part of the law, Vermont municipalities were required to opt-in on whether they will allow retail operations. Voters in 26 communities are deciding on the issue on Town Meeting Day or later in the year.
“It’s hugely significant. A lot of us have been waiting a long time for this,” said Eli Harrington, the founder of the advocacy group Vermontijuana.
Tuesday’s results give a clearer picture to entrepreneurs and growers looking to enter the industry. “It’s important for small businesses, for entrepreneurs for those in the illicit market that are trying to transition into the legal market over the next year or so to have an understanding of where their town is as early as possible,” said Geoffrey Pizzutillo with the Vermont Growers Association.
There are a number of details that need to be worked out before the law goes into effect in October 2022, first among them is the creation of a Cannabis Control Board, the regulatory body that will come up with specific proposals on how the market will work. The governor has yet to select the members of that board.
Advocates say the votes bring opportunities for smaller towns and open the door to ideas including consumption lounges, delivery services, and cannabis-based events. “We’ve got all of these small towns trying to get in on the action because they see the opportunity and they know not only is there revenue directly from sales but all of your of the businesses are going to benefit from having people in there and creating these micro economies,” Harrington said.
Even though cannabis sales weren’t on the ballot in the majority of towns, some such as Londonderry are looking to hold a separate meeting vote at a later date.
APPROVED CANNABIS SALES
Burlington 11,462 to 2,670
Brattleboro 1397 to 425
Middlebury 951 to 546
Montpelier 1981 to 847
Pawlet 301 to 204
Salisbury 118 to 105
Waterbury 635 to 430
Winooski 804 to 262
Windsor 301 to 240
REJECTED CANNABIS SALES
Richmond 674 to 611
NON-BINDING QUESTION TO ALLOW ON BALLOT
Waitsfield 382 to 121
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