Barre, Essex, Manchester among communities to approve retail cannabis sales
BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - At least 29 Vermont municipalities voted Tuesday to approve retail cannabis in their communities once it starts rolling out later this year.
According to the Vermont League of Cities and Towns, places including Barre City, Essex, Rutland City and Town, voted in favor of retail cannabis stores.
The league also says six towns voted no, including Castleton, Eden, Leicester, Mount Holly, Norton, and Swanton Village.
Existing medical dispensaries can start applying April 1 for licenses to start selling on May 1st. Other retail will start selling on October 1st.
Julie Hubbard, a member of the Cannabis Control Board, says they aren’t surprised that so many towns have opted in. “I really think that this is a new market for Vermont. We, as Vermonters, have been discussing this for some time. I know there are folks who are interested in this market that have been thinking about it, preparing for it really seriously in the last few months and in the last year in preparation for this. So, I think we are ready,” she said.
There is no cap on the number of licenses, but the board says it will only issue as many as the market can handle. That means there’s no guarantee communities that voted yes will be able to have a retail shop.
Essex was one of the largest communities to weigh in on Tuesday. A petition there was shy of the required signatures, but select board members allowed the item on the ballot since it was so close to Town Meeting Day. Members of the Essex cannabis community say the decision to join them was a no-brainer. “People know what they’re getting and to be able to stomp the black market out-- which we really amped up by allowing people to grow at home, but not be able to buy it,” said Meredith Mann with Magic Mann Cannabis.
The Vermont League of Cities and Towns says the Legislature is still discussing local fees, where municipalities can charge $100 for a retail permit. By state law, towns are not allowed to pass additional taxes on top of the 20% state tax. But if a town already has a 1% local option tax for restaurants and hotels, that covers cannabis, too.
Communities that approved cannabis sales:
Barre 767 to 574
Bolton 114 to 63
Essex 3589 to 2473
Grand Isle 316 to 223
Manchester 591 to 355
Middlesex 36 to 195
Milton 1106 to 852
Marlboro 201 to 94
Rutland Town 468 to 425
Springfield 715 to 632
Waitsfield 297 to 160
Communities that rejected cannabis sales:
Castleton 351 to 306
Towns considering allowing the sale of recreational marijuana in their communities, according to the Vermont League of Cities and Towns: Barre City, Bolton, Castleton, Chester, Derby, Eden, Essex Town, Fair Haven, Fayston, Ferrisburgh, Grand Isle, Hardwick, Hartford, Leicester Town, Manchester, Marlboro, Middlesex, Milton, Moretown, Mt. Holly, New Haven, Norton, Pittsford, Poultney, Proctor, Putney, Richford, Rockingham, Rutland City, Rutland Town, Sheldon, Springfield, Stockbridge, Stratton, Vernon, Waitsfield, Wallingford, Wilmington, Wolcott and Woodstock.
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