We’re not expecting the Wild West in Vermont – think pre-legalization California with its semi-legal dispensaries and quasi-legal delivery services – but, as you might expect, we are expecting the law’s “loopholes” to be exploited by savvy industry enthusiasts.
Coming from a New York native (more or less), Vermont has been a green beacon for a decade – and not just for its lush Green Mountains. Growing up, we puffed on a lot of Vermont-grown cannabis; it wasn’t a secret that the state’s growers cultivated some of the best product you could get your hands on. The tiny state was our California – it had decriminalized cannabis possession before anyone in New England — yet, somehow, Vermont managed to fall behind Massachusetts and Maine with legalization and the new law does not create a taxed-and-regulated industry.
Come July 1, however, it will set in motion a thriving gray market.
What is a gray market?
On July 1, Vermonters can grow two mature and four immature plants-per-household – but we can’t sell it and we can’t publicly consume. The state’s licensed dispensaries will still only be allowed to sell cannabis to registered patients but a “gifting” culture is certain to emerge, as we’re seeing in Massachusetts and Maine as they move toward their own legalization dates. Gifting is nothing new. In California, shortly after the legalization vote, I gave a “donation” for a vape pen and cartridges after finding an ad on Craigslist. In Michigan, I acquired a “temporary” medical cannabis card to attend – and make purchases at – the 2016 Michigan cannabis cup.
An amateur cannabis grower’s seedling, bathed in the purple light of an LED-based grow closet. Photo credit: Cannabis Pictures
Kris Smith*, a Vermont native who owns an industrial hemp-related business in Vermont, temporarily moved to Maine following