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Frequently Asked Questions

These are some of the most commonly asked questions. Don't see what you're looking for? Contact us for more information.

What does the Board do? What are the timelines for licensing of participants in the adult-use market?
What are the Board's rules and regulations for cannabis? How do I find out more information on Vermont's Medical Cannabis Program?
What is pre-qualification? What are the license types and tiers? What will they cost?
How do I register as a nursery? Can customers order cannabis online?
Can cannabis establishments deliver?  Can a licensee hold more than one license?
Some licensing tiers refer to canopy size, but what is the definition of plant canopy? Is each license holder that must have its product tested required to get the testing done by an independent laboratory?
Am I required to have warning labels on my products? What is a social equity applicant? What about an economic empowerment applicant?
How do I obtain a background check for licensure? Do municipalities need to opt in to host a cannabis establishment?
What other authority does a municipality have to regulate cannabis establishments? How do I demonstrate compliance with fire safety regulations for the purposes of my cannabis license?
Are there requirements for insurance coverage? Do I need a bank account for my cannabis business?
Does the law require cannabis establishments to buy and sell cannabis and cannabis products through wholesalers? Are cooperative ventures permitted by the Board’s rules?
What authority does a town or other municipality have to regulate cannabis establishments? As a Vermont farmer, what should I be aware of regarding Federal laws on producing cannabis?
  My question isn’t answered here – how do I get more information?

What does the Board do?

The Board is responsible for implementing and regulating a safe legal market for adult use of cannabis. More information on the CCB may be found on the About Us section of the website.

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What are the timelines for licensing of participants in the adult-use market? 

Act 164 (2020) sets the following timeline for the roll-out of the adult use market: 

  • April 1, 2022: License applications for integrated licensees, small cultivators, and testing laboratories can be accepted.  
  • May 1, 2022: Licenses for integrated licensees, small cultivators, and testing laboratories can begin to be issued.   
    • License applications for all cultivators can also be accepted.  
  • June 1, 2022: Licenses for all cultivators can begin to be issued.  
  • July 1, 2022: License applications for product manufacturers and wholesalers can be accepted.
  • August 1, 2022: Licenses for product manufacturers and wholesalers can begin to be issued.
  • September 1, 2022: License applications for retailers can be accepted.
  • October 1, 2022: Licenses for retailers can begin to be issued. 

Pre-Qualification for all licensing types began on March 16, 2022.

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What are the Board's rules and regulations for cannabis?

The Board has approved four rules around the implementation and regulation of cannabis. They may be found on the Laws, Rules, and Regulations section of our website, along with relevant state and federal laws, but generally, we have rules concerning:

The Board’s fifth proposed rule on Board Member Removal has not yet been approved, and is still in draft form.

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How do I find out more information on Vermont's Medical Cannabis Program?

The Cannabis Control Board maintains a separate page for frequently asked questions relating to medical cannabis in the state of Vermont. Those FAQs may be found here:

https://ccb.vermont.gov/med-FAQ

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What is pre-qualification?

Applicants may apply to be pre-qualified ahead of their full application window opening as outlined above. An applicant may decide to pursue pre-qualification in order to help them obtain financing, a location for their business, or anything else where official documentation from a regulatory agency might be useful in lieu of a full license.

Pre-qualification is not a license to operate, and it does not affect an applicant’s licensure priority when their relevant application window opens.

With full application windows beginning to open, it is up to an applicant to decide if pre-qualification is the best route for them to pursue. There is a $500 non-refundable fee associated with pre-qualification, which is applied towards an applicant’s full licensing fee, and an applicant pursuing pre-qualification must undergo and pay for a second background check when they seek a full license.

More information on pre-qualification may be found on our guidance page.

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What are the license types and tiers? What will they cost?

There are six license types – cultivators, manufacturers, retailers, wholesalers, testing laboratories, and integrated licenses. Of these, cultivators and manufacturer licenses are broken down into tiers.

More information on licenses, along with how much it costs to apply and be licensed by the Board, can be found on our Application and Licensing Fees Guidance Document.

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How do I register as a nursery?

Recently the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration issued a statement classifying all types of cannabis with a Delta-9 THC content of less than 0.3% as “hemp” federally. All cannabis seeds and clones are likely to meet this definition.

In Vermont all individuals growing or producing more than two mature cannabis plants or four immature cannabis plants are required to be registered either with the Agency of Agriculture's hemp program to grow cannabis that meets the definition of hemp or with the Cannabis Control Board for all other cannabis. Individuals or businesses that wish to sell cannabis seeds or clones to the public may choose to register with the Agency of Agriculture's Hemp Program or seek a license with the Cannabis Control Board. The appropriate license or registration for your business will depend on the details of your business model, and you should consult with your legal counsel to determine the best course of action.

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Can customers order cannabis online?

No. Online ordering is currently prohibited.  The legislature may consider it in the future.

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Can cannabis establishments deliver? 

No. Delivery is not currently allowed. The legislature may consider it in the future.

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Can a licensee hold more than one license? 

Yes.  Except for the Integrated Licenses, licensees may hold more than one license. This is referred to as "stacking" or "vertically integrating" licenses. However, they may not hold more than one of any type of license.

Example: One licensee may hold one retailer license, one cultivator license, one manufacturer license, and one wholesaler license.  However, one licensee may not hold two retailer licenses or two cultivator licenses. 

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Some licensing tiers refer to canopy size, but what is the definition of plant canopy?

The Vermont legislature has defined plant canopy in statute. The statute provides that: “’Plant canopy’ means the square footage dedicated to live plant production and does not include areas such as office space or areas used for the storage of fertilizers, pesticides, or other products.” 7 V.S.A. § 861(24). 

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Is each license holder that must have its product tested required to get the testing done by an independent laboratory?

Yes, the Vermont legislature has mandated independent testing for every license holder that is subject to a testing requirement. 

The relevant statute provides: “A cannabis establishment that is subject to testing requirements under this chapter or rules adopted pursuant to this chapter shall have its cannabis or cannabis products tested by an independent licensed testing laboratory and not a licensed testing laboratory owned or controlled by the license holder of the cannabis establishment.” 7 V.S.A. § 908(f). 

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Am I required to have warning labels on my products?

Yes. All marketing, advertising, branding, packaging, and promotional materials must contain the same written health warning established by the Board. More information will be contained in forthcoming guidance on product packaging. In the meantime, the approved warning labels may be found on the Board’s guidance page:

https://ccb.vermont.gov/guidance

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What is a social equity applicant? What about an economic empowerment applicant?

Social equity:

Social equity applicants must meet at least one of the following criteria:

  • They are Black or Hispanic, or
  • They are from a community that has historically been disproportionately impacted by cannabis prohibition and are able to demonstrate to the Board that they were personally harmed by that impact.
  • They have been incarcerated for a cannabis related offense or have a family member that has been incarcerated for a cannabis related offense

No previous Vermont residency is required, but applicant must currently reside in Vermont.

More information on the Board’s decision to define social equity applicants in this way may be found in this recording from the CCB’s January 31, 2022 meeting. The discussion begins at roughly hour 2:07 of the recording.

Further information on the Board’s social equity program, and how to apply, may be found in guidance.

Economic Empowerment:

Applicants who do not meet the criteria for the Board’s social equity program, but still come from historically disadvantaged communities may be considered economic empowerment applicants.  The Board will prioritize reviewing license applications from economic empowerment applicants over non-social equity and non-economic empowerment applicants.  

Economic empowerment applicant businesses must be at least 51% owned by a member of a historically disadvantaged community.  Those communities include: women, veterans, people with disabilities, members of the LGBTQIA+ community, First Nation/Indigenous/Native Americans, Asian American / Pacific Islanders, and other communities of color not explicitly named in the social equity program.

By statute, only Social Equity applicants have access to technical assistance and grant funding through the Cannabis Business Development Fund.

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How do I obtain a background check for licensure?

The background check process is different for pre-qualification and full licensure.

Pre-qualification applicants must request their own Vermont, 50-state, and federal background checks by following the instructions found in our pre-qualification guidance document.

Background checks submitted for pre-qualification are not sufficient for full licensure. Guidance for obtaining your background check for full licensure is available on our guidance webpage.

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Do municipalities need to opt in to host a cannabis establishment?

A municipality must opt in to host a retail cannabis establishment.

The opt-in vote requirement only applies to retail and the retail portion of integrated license types, and does not impact the ability for other license types to operate in a particular municipality. These other license types include cultivators, wholesalers, manufacturers, and testing laboratories. 

The relevant statute provides: “Prior to a cannabis retailer or the retail portion of an integrated licensee operating within a municipality, the municipality shall affirmatively permit the operation of such cannabis establishments by majority vote of those present and voting by Australian ballot at an annual or special meeting warned for that purpose.  A municipality may place retailers or integrated licensees, or both, on the ballot for approval." 7 V.S.A. § 863(a)(1). 

A municipality may not use its regulatory authority to prohibit the operation of non-retail cannabis establishments.

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What other authority does a municipality have to regulate cannabis establishments?

A municipality’s authority to regulate cannabis establishments is fairly limited. More information on municipal cannabis regulation may be found in our guidance document for municipalities.

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How do I demonstrate compliance with fire safety regulations for the purposes of my cannabis license?

All cannabis establishment applicants should contact Landon Wheeler, Assistant State Fire Marshal, with the Department of Public Safety's Fire Safety Division.

Email Address: Landon.Wheeler@vermont.gov

Phone Number: 802-639-0949

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Are there requirements for insurance coverage?

Yes.  Cannabis establishments must obtain and maintain commercially reasonable levels of insurance to protect the business owner and the general public.

What may be considered commercially reasonable is up to you and the insurance provider.  The coverage provided by a standard homeowner’s insurance policy will be inadequate.  If you are unable to obtain commercially reasonable levels of insurance coverage, you must place in escrow for coverage of liabilities:

  • Tier 1 cultivators, no less than $10,000
  • Tier 2 and 3 manufacturers and tier 2 and 3 cultivators of any type, no less than $50,000
  • Retailers, wholesalers, integrated licensees, testing laboratories, tier 1 manufacturers, and tier 4, 5, and 6 cultivators of any type, no less than $250,000

NFP, as well as Hickock & Boardman are accepting cannabis establishments for insurance policies. Contact information for both may be found below.

The Cannabis Control Board has not vetted or endorsed any the available insurance plans from any of the above businesses.

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Do I need a bank account for my cannabis business?

Yes. All applicants must make a good faith effort to get a bank account. In many cases, banks that will open accounts for cannabis businesses are asking to see a pre-qualification certificate from applicants prior to opening an account. The following banks have deposit accounts on file for cannabis businesses:

If an applicant can document their unsuccessful good faith efforts to open a bank account, they may still apply for licensure by submitting a cash management plan along with their application.

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Can the Board recommend a lawyer to me for my cannabis establishment?

The Board does not maintain a list of lawyers with expertise in the cannabis industry. Please consider reaching out to the Vermont Bar Association for recommendations;
https://www.vtbar.org/

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Does the law require cannabis establishments to buy and sell cannabis and cannabis products through wholesalers? 

The law does not require cannabis or cannabis product to be sold through wholesalers. The law established a wholesaler license for those who may choose to operate a wholesaling business.

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Are cooperative ventures permitted by the Board’s rules?

There is nothing in the Board’s draft rules that prohibit people who are licensed by the Board from forming cooperative ventures, consistent with any applicable laws.

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What authority does a town or other municipality have to regulate cannabis establishments?

The Board has created an extensive FAQ page related to cannabis establishments and municipalities. That page may be found here:

https://ccb.vermont.gov/municipal-faq

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As a Vermont farmer, what should I be aware of regarding Federal laws on producing cannabis?

If you have received Federal funding such as funds from the Farm Service Agency (FSA), Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), and/or the Risk Management Agency (RMA) for USDA farm programs, that may include, but are not limited to, crop insurance, farm loans, disaster assistance and conservation programs, you should seek legal counsel before applying for a license to cultivate, manufacture, wholesale, or retail cannabis or cannabis products.  Although landowners in Vermont may now legally apply for licenses to operate a cannabis establishment, Federal laws prohibit such activities.

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My question isn’t answered here – how do I get more information?

Additional information can be found on our guidance page. Please review the documents available there. If you still have questions, please feel free to contact us.

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