Vermont voters increase town boundaries in which retail cannabis sales will be allowed


On Tuesday, March 1, Vermont residents engaged in a range of discussions as part of Town Meeting Day. The all-important event happens on the first Tuesday of March every single year.

Cannabis was a subject matter that really stood out during the meeting, with Vermonters voting to increase the number of towns that permit retail cannabis sales to individuals aged 21 and above.

According to chair of the Vermont Cannabis Control Board, James Pepper, this occasion marks “a very important moment for Vermont.”

“We want Vermonters to be able to access this product close to their home as opposed to having these cannabis deserts around Vermont,” explained Pepper.

Vermont’s second-largest community, Essex which was the biggest community to hold a cannabis-related vote at the recent meeting approved adult-use cannabis sales with a vote of 3,589-2,473

A handful of smaller towns have dismissed the idea of selling recreational cannabis to people aged 21 and above.

Nonetheless, Tuesday’s history-making vote did result in the distances between towns that have permitted cannabis retail in the future being reduced considerably.

At least 25 of 40 communities recently said “yes” to retail cannabis sales in Vermont

The results of a tally published by online Vermont news source VTDigger showed that, of the 40 communities that pondered over the subject at the Town Meeting Day, at least 25 approved.

Included in those communities were a number of larger residential areas, such as Barre (767-463), Bristol (513-264), Hartford (1,152-748), Manchester (591-355), Milton (1,060-895) and Springfield (715-632).

Let’s take a look at some other towns that voted to pass the proposals:

  • Bolton (114-63)
  • Derby (200-165)
  • Fair Haven (285-230)
  • Fayston (129-78)
  • Ferrisburgh (294-172)
  • Grand Isle (316-223)
  • Marlboro (201-94)
  • Moretown (326-207)
  • Pittsford (323-313)
  • Poultney (298-258)
  • Proctor (125-102)
  • Putney (384-263)
  • Rockingham (318-187)
  • Wallingford (269-228)
  • Waitsfield (297-160) 
  • Wilmington (173-85)

“What this means really is that the board has a lot of work to do with these towns whose citizens have asked for this because there are a lot of questions out there,” Pepper admitted. “Towns don’t know where their authority is, where the board’s authority is.”

Tens of thousands of residents voted against retail cannabis sales in Vermont

Although the outcome of Vermont’s Town Meeting Day was overly positive in terms of cannabis retail, a handful of towns voted against sales. 

In total, 19 Norton residents who attended their Town Meeting objected to cannabis retail sales from the floor. 

Listed below are some other communities that turned down the measure:

  • Castleton (351-301)
  • Eden (27-19)
  • Leicester (56-53)
  • Mount Holly (250-147)
  • Swanton Village (125-119)

Across 30 different municipalities that provided input on Town Meeting Day, approximately 36,200 people favored retail cannabis, whereas 18,600 dismissed the idea.

Before the important event took place, the Vermont League of Cities and Towns claimed that a total of 33 Vermont communities had already given retail cannabis establishments the green light. 

In accordance with Vermont law, it is legal to consume adult-use cannabis. Regardless, communities are required to “opt-in” before business owners can legally sell non-medical cannabis in a shop setting.