Cannabis retailers struggling to keep store shelves stocked
SOUTH STAFFORD, Vt. (WCAX) - Retail cannabis has now been available for consumers in Vermont since the beginning of the month. Reporter Adam Sullivan checked in on how it’s going with a store owner to gauge demand and two growers who will be supplying the product.
According to officials with Vermont’s Cannabis Control Board, the state’s retail marijuana market is off to a good start. However, retailers say supply has been an issue.
“I think we are feeling really good, excited, plants are doing good. We are still working out a few environment kinks, but things are coming along,” said Michelle Shane with Clover Hill Cannabis.
Michelle and her husband Michael own the licensed indoor grow business in South Strafford. They currently have more than 120 plants under lights, that when fully mature, should yield upwards of 40 pounds of cannabis.
“We only went with one strain this time because we didn’t know what the bottleneck of the testing facility would be. There will be more variety coming through, but this is a good hardy strain to start out with,” said Michael.
We first visited the Shane’s in late June when their grow house was only a cement slab. They invested roughly a quarter million dollars to get the business started. But at this point, they still do not know who they will be selling their product to.
“We’ve reached out to a few people to start making those relationships happen, but we are still in the early stages of that,” Michelle said.
“Indoor flower will really help keep the supply steady throughout the year,” said Dave Silberman, co-owner of Flora Cannabis in Middlebury, one of the few stores that opened October 1st. He says 1,000 customers walked through the door the first weekend. Since then, Flora has been selling between one and two pounds a day. On opening day, they offered 11 different varieties, but it didn’t last. “You know we started selling out of several of those strains within a couple of days and yeah, within our first week, it was really hard to get a resupply.”
He says a licensing delay for growers and a lack of testing facilities contributed to supply problems. He worries that if they continue, that could jack up prices for consumers. But he says it appears the market is beginning to correct itself. “We have deliveries coming every day this week for resupply, both flower and manufactured products, and we are seeing that testing lab backlog start to ease,” said Silberman.
Meanwhile, more and more growers will have product hitting the marketplace, like the Shane’s, who say they are roughly four to five weeks away. “We are doing good but there is still a little ways to go,” Michelle said.
Two more retail stores will be coming into the marketplace in the next week or so. It will still be several months before officials have a better understanding of how much tax revenue is being generated by the state’s new cannabis market.
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