Equity Project State Briefing
Is Cannabis Legal in Vermont?
Cannabis in Vermont is legal for both medical and adult use.
Date of Legalization
Vermont legalized medical cannabis in 2004. In 2018, Vermont went on to legalize possession and limited cultivation of cannabis by adults 21 and older through H. 511. However, commercial cannabis sales were not legalized in Vermont until 2020, with sales being authorized to begin in October 2022.
In 2021, the Vermont legislature passed S. 25, a bill that strengthens the state’s social equity provisions.
Within Vermont’s adult use framework, adults 21+ may possess up to one ounce of cannabis, five grams of hashish and two mature cannabis plants. Within the medical framework a patient may possess up to two ounces of usable cannabis and two mature plants.
Other Licensing Provisions
- License Caps:
Vermont has not yet established whether their adult use sector will have licensing caps, however as reference, the state limits the number of medical dispensary licenses that can be issued. local municipalities must consciously opt in to participate in the adult use sector.
Application Selection Process
- Selection System:
Vermont has not yet announced how licenses will be distributed. However the Board is responsible for creating a selection system based on certain priorities, leading us to believe the licenses will be distributed based on merit rather than a lottery. The system of priorities shall require consideration of criteria, including:
(1) whether the applicants have an existing medical cannabis dispensary license in good standing;
(2) whether the applicants would foster social justice and equity in the cannabis industry by being a minority or women-owned business;
(3) whether the applicants propose specific plans to recruit, hire, and implement a development ladder for minorities, women, or individuals who have historically been disproportionately impacted by cannabis prohibition;
(4) whether applicants propose specific plans to pay employees a living wage and offer benefits;
(5) whether the project incorporates principles of environmental resiliency or sustainability, including energy efficiency; and
(6) the geographic distribution of cannabis establishments based on population and market needs.
by the board but they must follow general criteria.
Felony Disqualification on Ownership
- Ownership Exclusion for Felony Convictions:
- Exemption for Cannabis Offenses:
Vermont has not yet established specific felony disqualifications within the adult use sector. However, the Board must set forth standards for determining whether an applicant should be denied a cannabis license because of his/her/their criminal history record based on factors that demonstrate whether the applicant presently poses a threat to public safety or the proper functioning of the regulated market. Nonviolent drug offenses shall not automatically disqualify an applicant.
Employee Criminal Records
- Conviction Restrictions for Employees:
- Exemption for Cannabis Offenses:
Vermont has not yet established any specific adult-use cannabis employee felony disqualifications.
Availability of Expungements
Vermont’s newest expungement provision S. 234 was signed into law on October 7, 2020. Vermont offers automatic expungement of convictions prior to Jan 2021, for violations of 18 V.S.A. § 4230(a) (possession or cultivation of less than two ounces of cannabis, 10 grams of hashish, four mature plants, and eight immature plants. ) The automatic expungement process must be completed by January 1, 2022. The possession and cultivation amounts that are decriminalized and eligible for expungement under the new law, are almost twice the legal possession limits for adults.