Vermont marijuana for sale: Retail adult-use cannabis begins – Burlington Free Press

Bryan Menard didn’t wait for the sun to tell him when to get up Saturday. By 6:30 a.m. the Burlington resident was at the head of a line outside the Ceres Collaborative store on College Street, preparing to be the shop’s first customer on the first day of retail adult-use cannabis sales in Vermont.

“Things are changing and things are good. It’s about time,” Menard said about 15 minutes before the store let the first half-dozen patrons stroll inside — Menard included — just after 10 a.m. Saturday. “It’s nice to go to your local market and not go to a back alley.”

Vermont has a tradition of tolerance toward marijuana use, and many weed consumers already have their local dealer or grow their own pot plants, especially since the state allowed limited growing and possession of marijuana in 2018. But consumers were still ready to buy retail weed for the first time, as indicated by a line of a couple hundred people stretching from the storefront around the corner and down an alley toward The Daily Planet restaurant on Center Street.

Brandon Coburn of St. Albans stood in that line and came out of the store with a packet containing an eighth of an ounce of marijuana, “the same amount I got in trouble for when I was 18,” he said. He’s not sure if he’ll go back to a retail shop for his next purchase — the $70 price tag was about double what Coburn said he’d pay normally — but Saturday’s purchase felt like vindication for his 18-year-old self.

“I had to do it once,” he said of his legal retail excursion.

Historic day in Vermont

The line at Ceres — the only store in Chittenden County licensed by the state to sell adult-use cannabis and one of a handful licensed to date in Vermont — was long but quiet. Ceres staff walked the queue to let people know they’d need to show identification upon entering the store, but things were calm and orderly. There was no police presence, there were no traffic jams.

The day felt historically momentous and like no big deal all at the same time.

“This has just been a culmination for this whole state. To be ready and open for serving guests is just thrilling,” Russ Todia, chief operating officer for Ceres Collaborative, said as he stood in the store minutes before it opened.

What’s legal?Breaking down Vermont’s recreational cannabis law.

Ceres has been in business for about a decade catering to medical-marijuana customers, and that established infrastructure helped the company get going smoothly, according to Todia. Ceres grows its own cannabis, which makes sense given its name — Ceres was the goddess of agriculture in ancient Rome, and her likeness tops the golden dome at the Vermont state capitol building in Montpelier.

Todia stood by a wall mural inside Ceres Collaborative reading “Power to the Plant” as he talked about wanting cannabis to become a more accepted part of society.

“Cannabis should be as normalized as alcohol is,” he said. Todia expects Ceres customers will include locals, tourists and college students who are 21 or older, the legal age for adult-use cannabis. Some patrons, Todia expects, didn’t have a source for buying in what he called the pre-retail “legacy” market, and he also expects regular users who want to know the product they consume has been tested and is safe.

Store employees stood near glass cases displaying loose cannabis flower and edible products containing THC, the psychoactive component in cannabis. The employees, as well as labels next to the items in the display cases, explained details such as the variety of cannabis and the THC levels in each product.

Vermont weed, beer collide

Some people in line came from states that don’t allow retail adult-use cannabis sales. Erica Deuso, a South Burlington native now living in Downingtown, Pennsylvania, and Marcus Lucas, who lives in Lexington, South Carolina but recently bought land in Randolph, stood next to each other near the rear of the line around 10:30 a.m. Saturday.

As a Vermont native, Deuso said she’s used to the idea of standing in line to get the latest major craft-beer release from one of the state’s world-renowned brewers. “I don’t even know if I’ll buy anything, but I’m just curious,” said Deuso, who was in Vermont visiting an uncle.

Lucas was more certain when asked if he would be buying anything at Ceres. “Oh, I am,” he said. He was in the market for pre-rolled joints and wanted to explore the different varieties of adult-use cannabis in the store.

More:Nearly 70 Vermont towns have opted in to allow retail cannabis. Here’s where.

Menard — the first in line Saturday morning — said he expected to buy about $100 of cannabis flower and maybe some edible products. He planned to enjoy his purchases while drinking Sip of Sunshine, an India pale ale brewed by Waitsfield-based Lawson’s Finest Liquids in a mash-up of entrenched and burgeoning pieces of Vermont’s adult-recreation industries.

Contact Brent Hallenbeck at Follow Brent on Twitter at

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