Milton could see large cannabis growing facility

Published: Oct. 28, 2021 at 11:28 PM EDT|Updated: Oct. 29, 2021 at 3:21 AM EDT
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MILTON, Vt. (WCAX) - With adult-use cannabis businesses opening in Vermont next fall, growers are looking to build facilities locally. The Cannabis Control Board is still ironing out some details, but some companies have already started the permitting process.

The Cannabis Control Board is working to keep business local, focusing on small cultivators. However, High Fidelity, parent company to CeresMED, along with the Greater Burlington Industrial Corporation, filed an Act 250 application earlier this month for a 48,000 square foot grow facility in Milton.

“You can have a facility that’s 45,000 square feet, 100,000 square feet, but it doesn’t mean you can grow within the total balance of that,” said Kyle Harris, a member of the CCB.

Right now, the CCB only oversees the coming soon adult-use cannabis market. They aren’t yet accepting permit applications, but when they do, Harris said they’ll be focusing on local first. “We’re starting small. We’re holding our largest tiers from being an option first,” Harris explained. “We want to grow this market small, indoor and outdoor. We want to be making special accommodations for small outdoor growers.”

The proposed facility in Milton comes with a price tag of $6.6 million. In the companies Act 250 application, they said the facility is to keep up with demands in the medical market and allow them to expand into the adult-use market when possible.

Geoffrey Pizzutillo, the co-founder of the Vermont Grower’s Association, said large facilities like these will take away from local growers. “The best path forward for Vermont is an equitable marketplace that leads with Vermonters and those most impacted by cannabis prohibitions,” Pizzutillo explained.

Not everyone is opposed to the facility. Milton Town Manager Don Turner said they’ve already approved a site plan for the grow facility. “We’re excited. This project, as I understand, will be a state-of-the-art facility and they will hopefully get under construction soon,” Turner said.

He adds there’s already a smaller facility owned by the same parent company operating in the Catamount Industrial Park. That facility paid property taxes in excess of $43,000 last year. Turner expects this one to pay more. “It would not require as many employees as the existing facility because the types of robots and technology they’ll be using, but it will be good for jobs and for economic development,” he said.

Harris said the Cannabis Control Board is meeting on Friday to talk about indoor growing facilities. They’ll be addressing licensing for companies looking to join the market when it opens next fall.

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