Vermont Senate committee approves new marijuana regulations

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The move paves the way for several changes to the industry

A Senate committee in Vermont has approved legislation that seeks to address several key components of the state’s marijuana industry. The bill, Senate Bill (SB) 54, is a major step forward for the state, which became the ninth in the country to legalize recreational marijuana when new marijuana laws took effect last July. Moving forward, the bill shouldn’t find much resistance.

The Senate Judiciary Committee approved the bill last Friday, 4-1. It lays the framework for the creation of Vermont’s Cannabis Control Board. The board would be responsible for adopting regulations for the industry, as well as administering a licensing program for cannabis establishments.

The legislation now goes to the Senate Finance and Appropriations committees before being sent to the full Senate for its consideration. A Senate vote could take place before Town Meeting Day, which will take place on March 5.

All retail shops would report to the CCB in order to receive operating permits. Those permits would need to be issued by April 1, 2021, according to the bill. Recreational cannabis delivery would not be allowed, but the CCB would be able to study programs in other states in order to possibly create a similar program in Vermont.

SB 54 also includes a 10% excise tax on cannabis products, as well as an optional local tax of 2%. All of the transactions would be exempt from the 6% sales tax currently applied in the state. The tax revenue would be used to cover the costs of managing the state regulatory system.

Senator Alice Nitka was the only member of the committee to vote no on the bill.