Cannabis Sales in Vermont Hit Record High in February

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Vermont cannabis sales in February grew by 6.9% to reach $6,477,957, the highest figure since sales started in the state. The monthly revenue report was released by the Agency of Administration in the state. The December to January sales were at 6.2%. The February sales earned the state $906,914 from the 14% mandatory tax applied on all recreational cannabis sales made by retailers.

Cannabis Vermont retailers sold $24,404,171 to date

The $6,477,957 in revenue generated in February was the highest since the first dispensaries opened in October last year. The state government was a big beneficiary after it received an additional 6% state sales tax leveraged from the sale of cannabis products. The total generated was $388,677 above the $906,914 the state received from the mandatory 14% excise tax on cannabis product sales.

To date, retailers of cannabis in Vermont have generated $24,404,171 from the sale of cannabis products. The state so far has received a tax of $3,416,584 from the sale of adult cannabis. The cannabis Vermont market is one of the fastest growing and it is expected to exceed performance expectations in the coming months.  The adult market was launched in the last fall and only three cannabis Vermont dispensaries had received licenses by October 1. To date, that number has grown to almost 50 retailers.

There were 52 Vermont cannabis dispensaries approved by the time the most recent monthly meeting was held. In the first month after launch, cannabis in Vermont sales were below $2.6 million. Within 5 months, revenue in the cannabis Vermont had grown by almost 33$. As more dispensaries get retail licenses to operate across all towns and cities in Vermont, the market is expected to pick up pace and grow very fast.

The Agency of Administration is still working on more guidelines and regulations to make the market competitive with other markets across the US. Legislators in the state passed legalization laws in 2020 which paved the way for establishing the necessary regulations that would allow sales to begin.

The Ban on personal possession of recreational cannabis was lifted in 2018

In essence, recreational cannabis in Vermont was legalized in 2018.  This is the year when legislators in the state put an end to a ban prohibiting personal possession and cultivation of cannabis. Unfortunately, the legislators didn’t put in place the framework for sales. Vermont’s Republican Governor Phil Scott signed the two bills in 2020. The key components of the bill included the following:

  • Cities and towns are required to authorize cannabis establishments before retail sales begin
  • Cannabis cultivation and production are to be zoned at the local level
  • Up to $10 million per annum received from the 30% tax on cannabis to be used on education and prevention efforts.
  • Tax from Vermont cannabis sales and use to be spent on the expansion of after-school and summer learning programs

After signing the bill, the governor said the state had included a proposed budget to help implement a universal after-school network. The network is based on a model from Iceland which has successfully helped prevent drug use and improved social and academic success. During that time, Scott requested legislators to work on improving the cannabis Vermont laws.

He noted their work was far from over and they needed to improve measures for education and prevention. One of the key preventive measures was a ban on marketing strategies that would attract children to use cannabis products. The governor noted that many stakeholders were yet to learn lessons from the public health pandemic due to alcohol and tobacco use.

He said the cannabis in Vermont laws had been a top focus for most of the legislators for 4 years. Nevertheless, their work was far from complete. He advised them to make sure the new policy addresses issues of equity and to be careful not to turn their priority into a public health crisis for current and future generations. Due to his concerns, Scott said he would allow the bill to become law without appending his signature.

Three cannabis in Vermont dispensaries sold $2.6 in the first month

The first legal cannabis Vermont stores opened doors on October 1. A report from the state shows the stores impressively sold cannabis products worth $2.6 million in the first month. To date, legislators in Vermont are still pushing for reforms of drug laws in the state. After many months of discussions. The lawmakers introduced several different bills in their chambers. The bills seek to legalize psychedelics like mushrooms and other drugs. 

If passed, one of the bills will discriminate against all drugs in the state. A section of the bill proposes changes for penalties for people found in possession of a supply of drugs for personal use. It seeks to change the penalty from a low-level felony or a misdemeanor to a civil offense. This will change the penalty fine to $50.

The bill also cites that a person convicted for such an offense may avoid paying the penalty if they agree to be screened for treatment of substance use disorder and related services. The bill also proposes the establishment of the Drug Use Standards Advisory Board.

Its mandate will be to determine the dosage benchmark for drugs for personal use and the benchmark for supplying regulated drugs for personal use. The board’s goal should be to prevent and reduce the criminalization of drugs for personal use. If the bill is passed, all individuals arrested in the past or convicted due to possession of a regulated drug for any amount of drug for personal use within the established benchmark will be allowed by law to have their criminal history records sealed off.

Due to challenges that come from an overdose, the bill also seeks authorization for a drug-checking program to be implemented. It will aim to allow individuals to receive an analysis of a regulated drug that had been previously obtained by an individual to determine the chemical structure of the drug and identify its chemical contaminants. Additionally, the bill will establish a pioneer project for supporting the development of operations of such programs. 

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