The Cannabis Catch-Up: Vermont Lawmakers Know the Value of Taxing Weed | Cannabis Catch-Up | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

News + Opinion » Cannabis Catch-Up


The Cannabis Catch-Up: Vermont Lawmakers Know the Value of Taxing Weed


Published February 16, 2018 at 4:47 p.m.
Updated February 21, 2018 at 1:26 a.m.

Cash crop? - DREAMSTIME
  • Dreamstime
  • Cash crop?
State budget gaps are not unique. But Vermont legislators took a novel tack last year to fill a shortfall by using money raised through the state’s medical marijuana program.

That means lawmakers know full well the value of taxing marijuana, but they’ve yet to figure out how to legalize and implement a full taxed-and-regulated system. Instead, legislators have come up with a system that legalizes adult use and possession but doesn’t cash in on potential tax revenue.

The state medical marijuana program fund gets an annual cash infusion, though. The state's five dispensaries each pay $25,000 annually in licensing fees, while patients pay $50 to register each year, Vermont Public Radio reports.

How useful is that cash? Here’s what Adam Greshin, the state’s finance commissioner, told VPR’s Emily Corwin about the $300,000 lawmakers siphoned from the medical marijuana fund.

"We needed to raise almost $30 million; that is not a small chunk of change," he said. Greshin added: "We’re not taking this fund and buying luxury items for certain Vermonters. It’s helping to run government which is exactly what happened in this case."

Go figure.

Here are some other cannabis stories we read from the week that was:

February 12: The Vermont Hemp Company responded to a lawsuit filed by a woman who said the biz’s founder, Joel Bedard, made off with her crop without paying. Spoiler alert: The company called the allegations “unfounded.” [Sasha Goldstein, Seven Days]

February 13: Rick Steves likes weed! Well, he thinks it should be legal, anyway. Read this interview he gave to Dan Bolles. Steves visited the Vermont Statehouse this week and also met up with folks at the Skinny Pancake in Burlington to expound on his vision for cannabis reform.  [Dan Bolles, Seven Days]

February 13: A company that wanted to sign up a large number of patients for Vermont’s medical marijuana program has stopped operating in the state. Turns out lawmakers and other regulators weren’t too keen on the business model of Canna Care Docs.  [Sasha Goldstein, Seven Days]

February 14: Guess what — law enforcement agencies are unclear on some aspects of the new Vermont law legalizing cannabis. And some drug-sniffing pooches might have to go into early retirement because, apparently, once they train on the scent of marijuana, they can’t get it out of their heads. Who knew? [Mark Davis, Seven Days]

February 15: Cannabis has been shown to help people with epilepsy, and new evidence is emerging that it could also help children with autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Interesting stuff. [Debra Kamin, Newsweek]

Got a story you want to see in our our weekly roundup? Send an email to