VT: Cashing In On Cannabis

Photo Credit: Tina MacIntyre-Yee

“It’s always been an industry. It’s always been a big piece of Vermont. Now, it’s just coming out of the shadows,” Dylan Rapp said.

Rapp founded Green State Gardener in Burlington. The business started by selling cannabis growing supplies online only.

“It was a bit more cloak and dagger, it was people were not coming out and talking about it as openly as they are now, and as openly as they were even a year ago,” Rapp said.

They opened the store a few years ago. Today, shelves are stocked with fertilizer, sprays and tents for growing cannabis indoors and outdoors. Mature and immature hemp plants are on display, showing off the equipment that can also be used for growing cannabis.

“We’ve seen a steady climb in business,” Rapp said.

And it’s not just college students who walk in the door.

“We’re seeing a lot of boomers now, we’re seeing a lot of couples, we’re seeing a lot of people just wanting to try this for the first time and sort of the stigma has fallen away,” Rapp said.

“I foresee it being quite a big industry,” Rex Accavallo said.

Accavallo is the vice president of Pro-Tech Security and Fire in South Burlington, which installs security and fire systems in homes and businesses.

“Not only camera surveillance but humidity control, low temperature, water. You know, that’s kind of protecting that investment,” he said.

Accavallo says they just started offering new services like the humidity control monitor to try to cash in on legalization.

“We see the potential and certainly once the legalization comes, I think we’ll see a ramp-up of businesses and individuals,” he said.

Timothy Fair says the amount of attention he’s getting for his new law firm, Vermont Cannabis Solutions, is unbelievable. It’s Vermont’s first cannabis law firm, catering to businesses entering the industry. Fair was a defense attorney for six years before diving into cannabis law.

“At this point, it has changed my entire paradigm on practicing law,” he said.

Right now, CBD and hemp products are allowed to be sold legally in Vermont. But other businesses could start selling T-shirts or bags with a free gift of cannabis.

“We’ve been seeing that in D.C.,” Fair said. “They have juice bars, $50 glasses of juice that come with a free thing of cannabis. Maine has been exploding with this type of concept.”

In Vermont, it will be legal to give away up to an ounce of cannabis.

“How local law enforcement and the individual counties, state’s attorneys are going to be dealing with that, is a great question,” Fair said.

Fair says while July 1 is a big deal for the cannabis industry, more work needs to be done for Vermont to take full advantage of legal pot.

“It is more of a milestone and it is definitely a major step toward full legalization, and I think that’s where we’ll really see the business component of this really blowing up,” Fair said.

Fair believes Vermont’s CBD and hemp industry is one of the most accessible and most advanced in the country. He also says a tax-and-regulate market could do a lot for the state, including rejuvenating some of Vermont’s struggling farms.