If great people and some of the best craft beers surround you, chances are you might be in Burlington, Vermont. What a great place to be if you are a cannabis consumer as well. With hints of legalization coming in 2016, the market for ancillary services related to the cannabis industry is beginning to boom. Medical and civil laws can be confusing. Let’s try to clear the air and paint a picture of the do’s and don’ts surrounding cannabis in Vermont.
What You Need to Know
Medicinal cannabis is legal in Vermont but requires vertical integration. Vertical integration means dispensaries must cultivate, dispense, and manufacture all cannabis, as well as cannabis-infused products completely themselves. The conditions for which you can qualify for medical use in Vermont include multiple sclerosis, seizures, cancer, severe nausea, AIDS/ HIV, severe pain, or cachexia (wasting syndrome). A medical patient may possess up to two ounces of processed cannabis. Home cultivation for medical patients allows for up to nine cannabis plants with only two of them being mature at any time. Caregiver laws do apply, but be sure to check with the Marijuana Registry to confirm you are in compliance. NORML has an up-to-date state-by-state law section to keep you informed.
If You Don’t Have a Medical Card, Here’s What You Need to Know
For those who don’t have qualifying conditions and still partake, be careful and prepared to pay a fine for possession if you’re caught by law enforcement. One ounce or less is all you should ever have on you if you’re not a medical patient. The fine is a civil one, ranging between $250 and $500. Selling less than a half-ounce of cannabis can land you two years of jail time with roughly ten grand in fines.
Vermont is home to only four medical cannabis dispensaries approved by the state. For individuals looking to establish a dispensary, you must meet the state’s requirements and submit a nonrefundable, one-time application fee of $2,500.
Champlain Valley Dispensary
Champlain Valley Dispensary (CVD) is located on Lower Main Street in Burlington, Vermont. CVD is Burlington’s only cannabis dispensary, having their license granted in July of 2012. Shayne Lynn operates the facility, and provides a safe and secure place for patients to obtain medical information. Member services include lab testing, appointments, patient information, loan information, education materials, and cultivation consultation as well. CVD is open to patients, and by appointment only. If you’re a cultivator, and are looking for consultation, the Burlington location is open to help on Tuesdays from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., with Saturday hours coming soon.
Southern Vermont Wellness
Operated by Shayne Lynn of Champlain Valley Dispensary, Southern Vermont Wellness offers the same high-quality medical options as their sister store. Their product line, as reported on Weedmaps.com, consists of eight cannabis strains, concentrates, tinctures, as well as edibles. All products are lab tested and come pre-packaged.
Vermont Patient Alliance
As of September 1, 2015 Vermont Patient Alliance will begin offering an online dispensary. You must designate them as your primary care giver and have patient information on file before you can access their resources. All information on the site is password protected ensuring that only patients may utilize their online services. VPA breeds high CBD and THC strains at their lab in Montpelier. Currently they have 1:1 CBD:THC and 2:1 CBD:THC.
Rutland County Organics
Brandon, Vermont will be home to the fourth dispensary in the state. There have been some delays in its opening due to heightened security and a change in hours of operation. Attorneys working for the dispensary hope to overcome these hurdles, and have this dispensary back on track soon.
Take It to the Vermont Bank – Legally!
Vermont dispensaries have what are considered to be unique banking roles with the state. In February 2014, the federal government released guidelines regarding financial institutions. The first condition is that banks are required to use due diligence in regards to cannabis customers. They must ensure they’re not implicating any priorities that are set out in the Cole Memo, a federal enforcement policy. Second, all banks that handle filings of various levels must be done on any and all activity that involves cannabis. Currently, all four of Vermont’s dispensaries are working with the banks.
Vermont Residents Have Access to Safe and Secure Locations
Safe access and a growing approval for cannabis consumption in the state of Vermont has allowed for groundbreaking steps in the legalization movement. Thanks to the pioneering individuals who fought for citizens rights in Vermont, patients now have access to their medicine legally. With decriminalization in place, and medical dispensaries up and running, it’s a good bet that Vermont will be one of the next states to legalize cannabis.
Stay informed and remember to push for, and vote, on cannabis reform laws when they are on the ballots. YOU make the difference!