Vermont passes law to assist cannabis social equity applicants

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Vermont Gov. Phil Scott signed a bill into law to establish a fund to help people of color and others impacted by the war on drugs to open licensed cannabis companies.

According to Montpelier-based VTDigger, Senate Bill 25 sets aside $500,000 from the state coffers to establish a marijuana business-development fund that is slated to provide financial assistance, loans, grants and outreach to social equity business applicants.

The exact wording of the fund is still under development.

The new law also:

  • Establishes regulations for how marijuana retailers can market their products.
  • Gives municipalities control over whether they allow marijuana stores.
  • Sets aside a portion of tax revenue for substance-abuse prevention programs.
  • Requires store owners to buy 25% of their cannabis flower from licensed small cultivators.

The advertising rules and tax revenue earmarks take effect on March 1, 2022. The rest of the law goes into effect immediately.

Recreational sales are not expected to begin in Vermont until October 2022.