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Retailers Count Down to Legalization in Vermont

This is a big step forward, even though it’s been many years in the making.

Cannabis Control Board has begun to issue licenses starting October 1, which is rapidly approaching. Businesses have been preparing and getting ready for this day for many months. 

Scott Sparks, Vermont Bud Barn’s retail manager, is optimistic and preparing for his opening in West Brattleboro. Sparks would love to have his store open soon after legal cannabis is legalized in Vermont. 

“Yeah, things are definitely moving forward,” he says of his work so far to get ready and open his doors. “I was planning on running it for two weeks. In three days, I had over 150 applications.” 

Sparks has been in the cannabis industry for years. He is an experienced cannabis dealer and has plans to move into the legal market. The Cannabis Control Board is reviewing his license to retail and he’s already interviewing candidates for employment at the dispensary.

Although he is able to get interviews on-site and recruit staff, it has been difficult for him with his bank accounts. He has decided to use a virtual bank to help him get started, since local banks are not able to accept cannabis clients. VSECU (the bank he had hoped to work with) said that they would not take on any new cannabis-related businesses. 

“Even though I got in all the paperwork on time and I have a longstanding relationship, I was not allowed to get an account,” Sparks says about his banking challenges. 

In the interim, he’s focusing on his business construction and installing a safety and security system. He also meets with farmers and growers. 

“A lot of the—I will call them top-tier growers—have actually approached us because they want to be a part of my continued branding down here, and they want to have a presence in southern Vermont,” he says about the folks he is trying to work with. 

Other residents in the same area are excited by the possibilities it holds, even if they don’t work in the marijuana industry. 

“I’m excited for this part of West Brattleboro,” says Larisa Volkaeichyute, owner of an art gallery in the same building that Vermont Bud Barn is hoping to open in. “I feel like that will give the opportunity to showcase my work and showcase the work of other artists.”

Retailers can start selling cannabis once cannabis licenses have been approved by the Cannabis Control Board. Retailers interested in selling cannabis are getting ready and are working hard to get their orders out as quickly as possible. Officials say that they have met the deadline of October 1. 

“The day I get to turn the key on that door will be one of the best days of my life,” Sparks says about his hopes for the future. “Just very exciting to finally get to this point after all these years.”

In Sparks’ case, he is planning on having product available and for sale within four days of getting his license. If everything goes smoothly, Vermont will see many other recreational businesses follow his lead and local industries explode.