Vermont is temporarily halting the issuance of new licenses for large-scale cannabis growers in a bid to protect smaller, local cultivators, officials said Tuesday.
The move, aimed at preventing a glut of cannabis in the state, comes as part of Vermont’s broader strategy to regulate its nascent legal market while supporting small farmers and equity-focused initiatives, according to James Pepper, chairman of the state’s Cannabis Control Board.
“Whatever we do on the supply side should really be targeted at those small cultivators – the small farmers and the social equity applicants – to allow them to kind of fill whatever the remaining capacity we have,” Pepper told Vermont Public Radio.
Additionally, Vermont’s outdoor cannabis growers have faced a tough year due to heavy rains in July and August, Pepper said, leading to a reduced harvest.
“It seems to me like we will be OK overall with the harvest, but early reports are that people are getting somewhere between 50% and 75% of what they grew last year,” he said.
Vermont is also set to open one of the nation’s first state-run cannabis testing labs. Slated to go online in January, the lab will be located in either Randolph or Colchester and will complement the testing services currently provided by two private labs in the state.