November’s elections saw two more states and the District of Columbia pass ballot initiatives legalizing the cultivation or sale of marijuana for recreational use. Vermont has not yet joined their ranks—but, the State has been slowly liberalizing its laws in a couple of key areas. While these changes in state law have created new business opportunities, marijuana remains illegal under federal law. We’ve recently been working with clients trying to navigate these unsettled waters and manage their risk in a complex and rapidly evolving sector.
Vermont law now permits the cultivation and sale of marijuana in two forms: as medicine, pursuant to the State’s medical marijuana law, and as hemp. Vermont's medical marijuana program stands as one of the more tightly regulated programs amongst the considerable number of states that now have such laws. The law limits the number of dispensaries that may be operated in Vermont (four total), requires that they be operated by nonprofit entities, and closely regulates details concerning site security, retention and oversight of employees and officers, and record-keeping. From the patient perspective, the law also more narrowly defines the conditions that qualify one to obtain medical marijuana than some other states—for example, California, where requirements to obtain medical marijuana are notoriously loose. In addition to buying marijuana at a dispensary, registered patients in Vermont can grow their own plants or have a caregiver grow for them... Read more.