Unknowns abound, but there’s hope that legal weed could bring a needed boost to the Northeast Kingdom.
Hemp cultivation has dropped sharply in Vermont, from 9,000 acres last year to 1,600 this year. But fees collected by the state hemp program increased more than five-fold.
Bruce Prosper Jr. faces up to 15 years in jail and fines of up to $500,000 for growing 15 marijuana plants to help with his disability.
Under the law, recreational cannabis dispensaries can open up in Vermont as soon as October 2022.
Attorney General TJ Donovan and Rep. Peter Welch hope the federal legislation passes as part of Covid-19 relief action.
The coronavirus pandemic has help to dampen interest in the cannabis industry.
While many colleges in Vermont offer courses or research opportunities related to hemp and marijuana, Castleton is the first to offer a full certificate.
‘I don’t think what we have learned in the past two years could be taught in a four-year degree.’
The governor has expressed dissatisfaction with legislative consideration of his economic-development proposals — a view not shared by leaders of even his own party.
On the same day Vermont voters go to the polls to cast their ballots in the presidential primary, they’ll also decide on issues ranging from the emerald ash borer to a Prohibition-era alcohol ban.
‘I think that it’s going to take two or three years of holding onto your shorts,’ said one farmer of the hemp industry in Vermont.
Proponents of a tax and regulate system say it will weaken the black market. But in other states that have legalized marijuana, illicit sales continue to thrive.
Cannabis industry mirrors the work world in general, where men occupy most decision-making roles.
Prices for the faddish crop are falling, the hemp market is saturated and experts expect some plants will be left to rot in the fields.