SO, WHAT’S GOING ON WITH LEGALIZED CANNABIS IN VERMONT?
We’ve been spending a fair bit of time looking at the introduction of legalized cannabis sales in California lately, and rightly so. It’s magical mayhem in the Golden State at present with the introduction of compliant packaging, additional regulations for all cannabis edibles, and cannabis shortages on dispensary shelves as few brands get their flower up to regulatory standards in time. But it’s time to take a break from Cali and turn our attention to what’s happening in Vermont.
It’s been a significant year so far for cannabis advocates in Vermont. Things kicked off on January 11 2018, when Governor Phil Scott approved Act 86 and decriminalized cannabis in Vermont. What’s particularly newsworthy about this decriminalization is that it converted Vermont into the first state to legalize the use of recreational cannabis by an act of state legislature. In all other states where cannabis has been decriminalized, the changes were brought about by voter referendums, but not in the Green Mountain State. Way to go, Vermont!
And so, since July 1st 2018, Vermonters over the age of 21 have been allowed to legally possess and consume cannabis for recreational purposes, with limits being set at 1 ounce of marijuana, 2 mature (flowering) plants, and 4 immature (non-flowering) plants. However, as we all know, the process of legalization brings with it a series of rules, regulations, restrictions, and possible punishments. For instance, it’s still illegal to smoke cannabis in public in Vermont, it’s prohibited to smoke it in front of a child and, as much as it disappoints us, it remains 100% illegal to buy or sell recreational cannabis in the Green Mountain State.
What is interesting, however, is that dispensaries selling medicinal cannabis (legal in Vermont since May 2004) and farms cultivating related products, like industrial hemp, have seriously cranked up their creativity when it comes to branding. Buying and selling recreational cannabis in Vermont might be illegal right now, but the hope is that by 2019 that all might change. In fact, the Marijuana Advisory Commission, established by Governor Phil Scott in September 2017, is scheduled to make policy recommendations for a commercial cannabis market toward the end of this year, although general feeling is that nothing concrete will happen until 2019. As such, brands seem to be preparing for the moment when they can wow legal buyers and stand strong against intense competition in the over 21 market.
It only takes a quick review of what Vermont-based brands are up to, to know that the state is catching on fast. It knows that the traditional cannabis “stoner” image just isn’t going to work anymore. The new legal consumer needs to be communicated with using a very different approach.
Vermont Hempicurean prides itself on its collective, community mission. It’s opted for a beautiful emerald green to inject energy and vigor into its new website, and preparations are in place to begin selling a range of industrial hemp products via its new online shop. Vermont Farmacy has been pretty creative with its new brand tagline, “From soil to CBD oil.” Not only does it rhyme, but it also reminds the consumer that its products come from the ground; a trend that we’re seeing across a number of U.S. states. As a third and final example, Creek Valley Cannabidiol has gone for a powerful splash of burnt orange on its new website, and has chosen to highlight the two most important aspects of its product line: organic and high quality.
There’s no doubt about it, Vermont is saying, “goodbye stoner, hello connoisseur”.
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