Policy Recommendations Vermont

2019-2020 Improvements and Recommendations for Vermont

Vermont state lawmakers spent time in the 2019 legislative session considering legislation to regulate and tax cannabis in the Green Mountain State, however, that legislation was tabled for action in 2020. Prior to turning to COVID emergency measures, state legislators were advancing bills (S 54) that would regulate and tax cannabis and provide for criminal record expungement of cannabis possession convictions (S 294). These measures are expected to receive new consideration in the 2021 legislative session.

Vermont also expanded some features of its medical program as part of the state's response to COVID. These enhancements included maintaining operations of medical cannabis businesses, and authorization of curbside pickup and delivery to reduce patient exposure to close contact. Vermont also extended expiring patient identification cards for 90 days, allowing patients to maintain safe access without having to visit a doctor to determine ongoing eligibility. ASA recommends permanently maintaining these new program features.

In addition to these recommendations ASA also encourages state lawmakers to address serious flaws with the state medical program that is on the brink of collapse. Lack of legal medical cannabis product supplies, poor medical product quality and diversity and a limited population of licensed medical cannabis retailers has created an environment in which patients cannot secure access to safe, legal, third-party laboratory tested medical cannabis. As a result patients are abandoning the state's medical program in favor of seeking access in neighboring states with more advanced medical systems. ASA asks that state lawmakers and regulators spend time in 2021 fixing these issues that are critical to ensuring patient safety, as well as remove requirements that patients may only access a single legal medical retailer.