Vermont regulators explained new cannabis packaging rules that ban the use of plastic without a state-issued waiver at the Cannabis Control Board’s June 15 meeting, while reiterating the need for prospective operators to curb illicit activity.
CCB Chair James Pepper announced updated packaging guidelines. When the legislature passed S. 188 last month, which introduced a 60% THC cap on concentrates, several other updates to the state’s cannabis regulations were made, including a change in packaging restrictions, which were relaxed in order to discourage the use of plastic.
“Cannabis flower does not need to be in child resistant packaging,” said Pepper. “The elimination of this requirement does not open the flood gates to any and all packaging options for flower, but it does mean you don’t need to use those heavy plastic push and turn tops. You can use things like glass jars with a latch, or you can use things like tear-resistant paper bags that are capable of being sealed.”
Harris said that the board had already received a few packaging waiver applications
Pepper added that the CCB has a waiver process in the event that a cannabis operator is unable to use packaging that lacks plastic. He also said that once a packaging type is approved, all operators will be able to use it.
During the meeting, the board approved new licenses for three outdoor cultivators, three indoor cultivators and one more mixed-used cultivator. The Board also approved a second testing lab, Endyne.
Along with the approvals, the meeting’s public comment section continued to bring concerns over the pace of licensing.
“I am just kind of concerned,” said Sara Farnsworth. “I submitted my application 51 days ago and I am an economic empowerment applicant. I have had no communications with anyone. It’s really disheartening because I have a lot riding on this and I may not be able to participate this year which is really sad for me.”
The CCB took the time to urge applicants, especially those coming from the legacy market to be patient with the licensing process.
“I acknowledge that the next couple of months are going to be the most intense for everyone, especially those who have the fate of being early adopters and enter this market early and then those that are leaving the legacy market into the regulated market, this is really going to be an intense time,” said Board member Julie Hulburd. “Focus on the long term gain. Really focus on the culture of compliance that is really essential for the market’s survival.”
Board member Kyle Harris framed the issue as being especially important given that there are people in the state who are opposed to having a legal cannabis market.
“There are folks out there who want you to fail. They want us to fail as a board. They don’t want this marketplace to be present amongst Vermonters,” he said. “Let’s prove everybody wrong.”
Pepper noted that the CCB has been receiving numerous complaints through its website about seemingly illicit activity.
“If we have credible evidence that you’re advertising high-THC products on social media, if you’re selling high-THC products out of your head shops or at an event. if you’re making false statements to local authorities about your CCB license status or compliance, or if you’re dispensing to minors, we cannot look the other way and it will impact your ability to get a license,” he said. “So please stop.”