Vermont appoints regulators to oversee recreational cannabis industry

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Advancing efforts to launch Vermont’s recreational marijuana industry, Gov. Phil Scott announced his three appointees for the state’s Cannabis Control Board.

According to Montpelier-based VTDigger, the governor’s picks are:

  • James Pepper, a deputy state’s attorney for the Department of State’s Attorneys and Sheriffs. Pepper would chair the board.
  • Julie Hulburd, human resources director at the Vermont Student Assistance Corp. and chair of the state ethics commission.
  • Kyle Harris, an agriculture development specialist at the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets.

The three must still be confirmed by the state Senate.

Under Vermont’s recently passed recreational cannabis law, the governor had until Jan. 8 to announce his picks while the Senate was supposed to confirm them a week later, the VTDigger reported.

The nearly 12-week delay in the appointments sparked concerns from some legislators that the adult-use program rollout could be held up for up to a year.

According to the VTDigger, those concerns arose because the Cannabis Control Board is supposed to make recommendations to the Legislature this spring about:

  • The panel’s annual budget.
  • Environmental and land-use requirements for marijuana businesses.
  • Proposed cannabis industry fees.

If the Legislature doesn’t receive and approve those recommendations by May – when lawmakers are scheduled to adjourn for the year – the adult-use program launch could be pushed back, the VTDigger reported.

However, the state Senate passed a bill last week in hopes of preventing such a delay, according to the outlet.