Vermont cannabis retailers stymied by roadblocks in effort to sell edibles

Published: Oct. 3, 2022 at 5:11 PM EDT|Updated: Oct. 3, 2022 at 6:22 PM EDT
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - Saturday was day one for retail sales of recreational cannabis in Vermont, and though there was a variety of THC products available at retailers across the state, one item was missing-- edibles.

A variety of issues slowed down the rollout of edibles into Vermont dispensaries, one of them being where you can make them.

“Edibles have been a challenge over the last six months to start a cannabis-licensed business,” said Meredith Mann of Magic Mann Essex.

Mann shared her frustration over some of the hurdles she’s had to overcome trying to open up her store for retail recreational cannabis. Her business, Magic Mann, made CBD edibles using a Department of Health-certified cannabis kitchen. She plans to use that knowledge to make THC edibles, but they were told they had to find another place to do it.

“Our business model was forced to make changes that weren’t extremely easy for us. We really had to make a choice, so we are doing THC manufacturing and producing our products elsewhere for now,” Mann said.

According to the Vermont Department of Health, dispensaries can’t make THC edibles in the same places that make CBD ones. The department released this guidance. It states that you cannot:

  • Add cannabis products under a food processor license
  • Process cannabis-infused edible products at a facility that processes non-cannabis food products
  • Process noncannabis food products at a facility that produces cannabis-infused edible products

Mann says the rule was a roadblock in the way of opening up her shop that she’s still working to figure out.

“I think it’s a little confusing for U.S. manufacturers,” she said. “To separate cannabinoids into different locations doesn’t make any sense. We’d love to see them both manufactured in the same place.”

The Cannabis Control Board says that the separation is due to different measures that must be taken to ensure product safety.

“We really want to make sure that anybody that we license can create a product that is tested and safe for members of the public,” said Nellie Marvel, the outreach and education manager for the Cannabis Control Board.

The board says the reason behind the slow rollout could also be because of a limited supply and the board’s order of operations.

“At this moment, there are, I believe, there are six manufacturers that are licensed throughout the entire state of Vermont. So of course, that does lend itself to some of these supply chain issues,” Marvel said. “We really worked to make sure that cultivators had their license. So, after the cultivators and some of the testing labs were licensed, then we turned our focus for the proper function of the market toward product manufacturers.”

The board says they anticipate that this will be a short a short-term issue that should alleviate as the market continues to mature.

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