Vermont’s Control Board to limit new cannabis licenses to protect small growers

posted on Nov 8, 2023 VemontPublic

Vermont’s Cannabis Control Board is looking to limit the supply of cannabis in order to protect small growers.

James Pepper, chairman of the Cannabis Control Board, said the state will not issue new licenses for larger indoor and outdoor growers in the coming months.

Marijuana is still illegal federally, so licensed growers can only legally sell it within their respective state. As such, states have a unique level of control over the legal supply, and oversupply (where supply outpaces demand enough to drive wholesale prices unsustainably low) is already an issue in states like Oregon and Oklahoma.

The board will review the licensing landscape in the spring.

“Whatever we do on the supply side should really be targeted at those small cultivators — the small farmers and the social equity applicants — to allow them to kind of fill whatever the remaining capacity we have,” Pepper said.

James Pepper, chairman of the Vermont Cannabis Control Board

While oversupply is a concern, this year has also seen a disappointing harvest for outdoor cannabis growers following heavy rains in July and August.

“It seems to me like we will be OK overall with the harvest, but early reports are that people are getting somewhere between 50 and 75% of what they grew last year,” Pepper said.

The state is also on track to open one of the nation’s first state-run cannabis testing labs. The lab has been a top priority for state cannabis regulators and lawmakers gave their approval to the plan last session.

There are currently two privately-run labs in the state where all retail products must be tested for potency and contaminants. The state-run lab is targeted to open in January in either Randolph or Colchester.

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