The government of Vermont is on the verge of supplying the missing piece of the state's marijuana legalization effort. On Wednesday, the state House of Representatives passed a bill that would set standards for the sale of the drug for adult recreational use.
The tax and regulate cannabis bill, as it's titled, passed by a comfortable margin of 90 to 54. It now moves back to the state Senate for reconciliation. (That body passed a similar, but not identical, bill last year.)
The bill's provisions include the creation of a Cannabis Control Board to regulate the industry and grant business licenses. A Cannabis Regulation Fund would also be established in order to finance the Board's operations, and other related purposes.
Most importantly for marijuana companies, the Board would start taking applications for recreational sales licenses as soon as Jan. 15, 2022. Current medical cannabis dispensary operators in the state would be among those getting preference when applying for recreational sale permits.
Another element of the bill in its present form is a 20% state tax on cannabis sales; the revenue derived from this would be utilized for educational programs. Restrictions include a ban on flavored marijuana vapes, and a limit of 30% potency of THC in all product.
Although the use of recreational cannabis has been legal in Vermont since 2018, the sale of it is still prohibited. Medical marijuana, on the other hand, has essentially been fully sanctioned.
Vermont is a small state, and its medical cannabis retail scene is limited. One company active there is Grassroots, which is set to be acquired by Massachusetts-based Curaleaf (CURLF 3.69%) if and when their long-pending deal finally closes. Look for Grassroots/Curaleaf to file for a recreational sales license when the time comes.
Curaleaf's stock was down marginally in early afternoon trading Thursday.