The Vermont Statutes Online
Title 7: Alcoholic Beverages, Cannabis, and Tobacco
Chapter 031: CANNABIS
- Subchapter 001: GENERAL PROVISIONS
§ 831. Definitions
As used in this chapter:
(1) “Board” means the Cannabis Control Board.
(2)(A) “Cannabis” means all parts of the plant Cannabis sativa L., except as provided by subdivision (B) of this subdivision (2), whether growing or harvested, and includes:
(i) the seeds of the plant;
(ii) the resin extracted from any part of the plant; and
(iii) any compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of the plant, its seeds, or resin.
(B) “Cannabis” does not include:
(i) the mature stalks of the plant and fiber produced from the stalks;
(ii) oil or cake made from the seeds of the plant;
(iii) any compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of the mature stalks, fiber, oil, or cake;
(iv) the sterilized seed of the plant that is incapable of germination; or
(v) hemp or hemp products, as defined in 6 V.S.A. § 562.
(3) “Cannabis product” means concentrated cannabis and a product that is composed of cannabis and other ingredients and is intended for use or consumption, including an edible product, ointment, and tincture. Cannabis product shall include a vaporizer cartridge containing cannabis oil that is intended for use with a battery-powered device.
(4) “Chair” means the chair of the Cannabis Control Board.
(5) “Criminal history record” shall have the same meaning as in 20 V.S.A. § 2056a(a).
(6) “Public place” means any street, alley, park, sidewalk, public building other than individual dwellings, any place of public accommodation as defined in 9 V.S.A. § 4501, and any place where the use or possession of a lighted tobacco product, tobacco product, or tobacco substitute is prohibited by law pursuant to 18 V.S.A. chapter 37. (Added 2019, No. 164 (Adj. Sess.), § 2, eff. Oct. 7, 2020.)
§ 832. Cannabis possessed unlawfully subject to seizure and forfeiture
Cannabis possessed unlawfully in violation of this title may be seized by law enforcement and is subject to forfeiture. (Added 2019, No. 164 (Adj. Sess.), § 2, eff. Oct. 7, 2020.)
§ 833. Consumption of cannabis in a public place
No person shall consume cannabis in a public place unless specifically authorized by law. Violations shall be punished in accordance with 18 V.S.A. § 4230a. (Added 2019, No. 164 (Adj. Sess.), § 2, eff. Oct. 7, 2020.)
- Subchapter 002: CANNABIS CONTROL BOARD
[Section 841 repealed effective July 1, 2024.]
§ 841. Cannabis Control Board; appointment
(a) When a vacancy occurs on the Cannabis Control Board, the Governor shall make a public announcement about the vacancy. The Governor shall submit at least five names of potential candidates per vacancy to the Cannabis Control Board Nominating Committee for review.
(b) The Committee shall review the candidates to determine which candidates are well-qualified for appointment to the Board and shall recommend those candidates to the Governor. The names of candidates shall be confidential.
(c) The Governor shall appoint, with the advice and consent of the Senate, a chair and two members of the Board from the list of well-qualified candidates sent to the Governor by the Committee. (Added 2019, No. 164 (Adj. Sess.), § 2, eff. Oct. 7, 2020; repealed on July 1, 2024 by 2019, No. 164 (Adj. Sess.), § 6e(1).)
[Section 842 repealed effective July 1, 2024.]
§ 842. Cannabis Control Board Nominating Committee
(a) Creation. The Cannabis Control Board Nominating Committee is created for the purpose of assessing the qualifications of applicants for appointment to the Cannabis Control Board in accordance with section 841 of this title.
(b) Members. The Committee shall consist of seven members who shall be selected as follows:
(1) The Governor shall appoint three members from the Executive Branch.
(2) The Speaker of the House of Representatives shall appoint two members from the House of Representatives.
(3) The Senate Committee on Committees shall appoint two members from the Senate.
(c) Duties. When the Governor submits the names of candidates for appointment to the Cannabis Control Board in accordance with section 841 of this title, the Committee shall review candidates to determine which candidates are well-qualified for the Board and submit those names to the Governor.
(d) Terms. The members of the Committee shall serve for terms of two years. Members shall serve until their successors are appointed. Members shall serve not more than three consecutive terms in any capacity. A legislative member who is appointed as a member of the Committee shall retain the position for the term for which he or she was appointed to the Committee even if the member is subsequently not reelected to the General Assembly during the member’s term on the Committee.
(e) Chair. The members shall elect their own chair.
(f) Quorum. A quorum of the Committee shall consist of four members.
(g) Staff and services. The Committee is authorized to use the staff and services of appropriate State agencies and departments as necessary to conduct investigations of applicants.
(h) Confidentiality. Except as provided in subsection (i) of this section, proceedings of the Committee, including the names of candidates considered by the Committee and information about any candidate submitted by the Governor, shall be confidential. The provisions of 1 V.S.A. 317(e) (expiration of Public Records Act exemptions) shall not apply to the exemptions or confidentiality provisions in this subsection.
(i) Public information. The following shall be public:
(1) operating procedures of the Committee;
(2) standard application forms and any other forms used by the Committee, provided they do not contain personal information about a candidate or confidential proceedings;
(3) all proceedings of the Committee prior to the Board’s receipt of the first candidate’s completed application; and
(4) at the time the Committee sends the names of the candidates to the Governor, the total number of applicants for the vacancies and the total number of candidates sent to the Governor.
(j) Reimbursement. Legislative members of the Committee shall be entitled to per diem compensation and reimbursement for expenses in accordance with 2 V.S.A. § 23. Compensation and reimbursement shall be paid from the legislative appropriation. (Added 2019, No. 164 (Adj. Sess.), § 2, eff. Oct. 7, 2020; repealed on July 1, 2024 by 2019, No. 164 (Adj. Sess.), § 6e(2).)
[Section 843 repealed effective July 1, 2024.]
§ 843. Cannabis Control Board; duties; members
(a) Creation. There is created within the Executive Branch an independent commission named the Cannabis Control Board for the purpose of safely, equitably, and effectively implementing and administering the laws enabling access to adult-use cannabis in Vermont.
(b) Duties. The duties of the Board shall be:
(1) rulemaking in accordance with this chapter, chapters 33-37 of this title, and 3 V.S.A. chapter 25;
(2) administration of a program for licensed cannabis establishments, which shall include compliance and enforcement;
(3) administration of the Medical Cannabis Registry on and after March 1, 2022;
(4) administration of a program for licensed medical cannabis dispensaries, which shall include compliance and enforcement, on and after March 1, 2022; and
(5) submission of an annual budget to the Governor.
(1) The Board shall be composed of a chair and two members appointed by the Governor in accordance with sections 841 and 842 of this title.
(2) All Board members shall serve for a term of three years or until a successor is appointed and shall be eligible for reappointment, provided that no member may serve more than three terms.
(3) A vacancy created before the expiration of a term shall be filled in the same manner as the original appointment for the unexpired portion of the term. A member appointed to fill a vacancy created before the expiration of a term shall not be deemed to have served a term for the purpose of subdivision (2) of this subsection.
(4) A member may be removed only for cause by the remaining members of the Commission in accordance with the Vermont Administrative Procedure Act. The Board shall adopt rules pursuant to 3 V.S.A. chapter 25 to define the basis and process for removal.
(d) Conflicts of interest.
(1) No Board member shall, during his or her term or terms on the Board, be an officer of, director of, organizer of, employee of, consultant to, or attorney for any person subject to regulation by the Board.
(2) No Board member shall participate in creating or applying any law, rule, or policy or in making any other determination if the Board member, individually or as a fiduciary, or the Board member’s spouse, parent, or child wherever residing or any other member of the Board member’s family residing in his or her household has an economic interest in the matter before the Board or has any more than a de minimus interest that could be substantially affected by the proceeding.
(3) No Board member shall, during his or her term or terms on the Board, solicit, engage in negotiations for, or otherwise discuss future employment or a future business relationship of any kind with any person subject to supervision or regulation by the Board.
(4) No Board member may appear before the Board or any other State agency on behalf of a person subject to supervision or regulation by the Board for a period of one year following his or her last day as a member of the Cannabis Control Board.
(e) Salaries. The Chair and all members of the Board shall be full-time State employees and shall be exempt from the State classified system. The Chair shall receive compensation equal to two-thirds that of a Superior Court Judge and other members shall receive compensation equal to one-half that of a Superior Court Judge.
(f) Executive Director. The Board shall appoint an Executive Director who shall be an attorney with experience in legislative or regulatory matters. The Director shall be a full-time State employee, shall be exempt from the State classified system, and shall serve at the pleasure of the Board. The Director shall be responsible for:
(1) supervising and administering the operation and implementation of this chapter and chapters 35 and 37 of this title and the rules adopted by the Board as directed by the Board;
(2) assisting the Board in its duties and administering the licensing requirements of this chapter and chapters 35 and 37 of this title;
(3) acting as Secretary to the Board, but as a nonvoting member of the Board;
(4) employing such staff as may be required to carry out the functions of the Board; and
(5) preparing an annual budget for submission to the Board.
(g) Consultant. The Board is authorized to hire a consultant as needed to assist with its duties under this section.
(h) Advisory committee.
(1) There is an advisory committee established within the Board that shall be composed of members with expertise and knowledge relevant to the Board’s mission. The Board shall collaborate with the advisory committee on recommendations to the General Assembly. The advisory committee shall be composed of the following 14 members:
(A) one member with an expertise in public health, appointed by the Governor;
(B) the Secretary of Agriculture, Food and Markets or designee;
(C) one member with an expertise in laboratory science or toxicology, appointed by the Governor;
(D) one member with an expertise in systemic social justice and equity issues, appointed by the Speaker of the House;
(E) one member with an expertise in women- and minority-owned business ownership, appointed by the Speaker of the House;
(F) the Chair of the Substance Misuse Prevention Oversight and Advisory Council or designee;
(G) one member with an expertise in the cannabis industry, appointed by the Senate Committee on Committees;
(H) one member with an expertise in business management or regulatory compliance, appointed by the Treasurer;
(I) one member with an expertise in municipal issues, appointed by the Senate Committee on Committees;
(J) one member with an expertise in public safety, appointed by the Attorney General;
(K) one member with an expertise in criminal justice reform, appointed by the Attorney General;
(L) the Secretary of Natural Resources or designee;
(M) the Chair of the Cannabis for Symptom Relief Oversight Committee or designee; and
(N) one member appointed by the Vermont Cannabis Trade Association.
(2) Initial appointments to the advisory committee as provided in subdivision (1) of this subsection (h) shall be made on or before July 1, 2021.
(3) The Board may establish subcommittees within the advisory committee to accomplish its work.
(4) Members of the advisory committee who are not otherwise compensated by the member’s employer for attendance at meetings shall be entitled to per diem compensation and reimbursement of expenses as permitted under 32 V.S.A. § 1010 for not more than six meetings annually. These payments shall be made from the Cannabis Regulation Fund. (Added 2019, No. 164 (Adj. Sess.), § 2, eff. Oct. 7, 2020; amended 2021, No. 62, § 2, eff. June 7, 2021; repealed on July 1, 2024 by 2019, No. 164 (Adj. Sess.), § 6e(3).)
§ 844. Authority for criminal background checks
The Board shall establish a user agreement with the Vermont Crime Information Center in accordance with 20 V.S.A. chapter 117 for the purpose of obtaining Vermont criminal history records, out-of-state criminal history records, and criminal history records from the Federal Bureau of Investigation as required by chapters 33 (cannabis establishments) and 37 (medical cannabis dispensaries) of this title. (Added 2019, No. 164 (Adj. Sess.), § 2, eff. Oct. 7, 2020.)
§ 845. Cannabis Regulation Fund
(a) There is established the Cannabis Regulation Fund, which shall be managed in accordance with 32 V.S.A. chapter 7, subchapter 5. The Fund shall be maintained by the Cannabis Control Board.
[Subsection (b) effective until July 1, 2023 and effective again July 1, 2025.]
(b) The Fund shall be composed of:
(1) all State application fees, annual license fees, renewal fees, and civil penalties collected by the Board pursuant to chapters 33 (cannabis establishments) and 37 (medical cannabis dispensaries) of this title; and
(2) all annual and renewal fees collected by the Board pursuant to chapter 35 (medical cannabis registry) of this title.
[Subsection (b) effective July 1, 2023 until July 1, 2025.]
(b) The Fund shall be composed of:
(1) all State application fees, annual license fees, renewal fees, and civil penalties collected by the Board pursuant to chapters 33 (cannabis establishments) and 37 (medical cannabis dispensaries) of this title;
(2) all annual and renewal fees collected by the Board pursuant to chapter 35 (medical cannabis registry) of this title; and
(3) all cannabis excise tax revenue raised pursuant to 32 V.S.A. § 7902.
(c) Monies from the Fund shall only be appropriated for the purposes of implementation, administration, and enforcement of this chapter and chapter 33 of this title.
[Subsection (d) effective July 1, 2023 and repealed July 1, 2025.]
(d) The Commissioner of Finance and Management shall do the following not later than July 31 each year:
(1) transfer the unexpended and unobligated balance of the Cannabis Regulation Fund to the General Fund at the close of the prior fiscal year; and
(2) report the amount of the transfer made pursuant to subdivision (1) of this subsection to the Joint Fiscal Committee. (Added 2019, No. 164 (Adj. Sess.), § 2, eff. Oct. 7, 2020; amended 2021, No. 185 (Adj. Sess.), § E.240.1, eff. July 1, 2023; 2021, No. 185 (Adj. Sess.), § E.240.5, eff. July 1, 2025.)
§ 846. Fees; authority
(a) Authority. The Board shall have the authority to charge and collect State and local license fees as provided under this chapter and chapters 33, 35, and 37 of this title. State and local license fees shall be due and payable at the time of application or renewal.
(b) Cannabis Regulation Fund. The Board shall deposit State fees collected pursuant to chapters 33, 35, and 37 of this title into the Cannabis Regulation Fund.
(c) Distribution to municipalities. After reduction for costs of administration and collection, the Board shall pay local license fees on a quarterly basis to the municipality for which the fees were collected. (Added 2019, No. 164 (Adj. Sess.), § 2, eff. Oct. 7, 2020; amended 2021, No. 86 (Adj. Sess.), § 1, eff. March 25, 2022.)
§ 847. Appeals
(a)(1) A party aggrieved by a final decision of the Board may, within 30 days of the decision, appeal that decision by filing a notice of appeal with the Executive Director who shall assign the case to an appellate officer.
(2)(A) The review shall be conducted on the basis of the record created before the Board.
(B) In cases of alleged irregularities in procedure before the Board not shown in the record, proof on that issue may be taken by the appellate officer.
(b) The appellate officer shall not substitute his or her judgment for that of the Board as to the weight of the evidence on questions of fact. The appellate officer may affirm the decision or may reverse and remand the matter with recommendations if substantial rights of the appellant have been prejudiced because the Board’s finding, inferences, conclusions, or decisions are:
(1) in violation of constitutional or statutory provisions;
(2) in excess of the statutory authority of the Board;
(3) made upon unlawful procedure;
(4) affected by other error of law;
(5) clearly erroneous in view of the evidence on the record as a whole;
(6) arbitrary or capricious; or
(7) characterized by abuse of discretion or clearly unwarranted exercise of discretion.
(c) A party aggrieved by a decision of the appellate officer may appeal to the Supreme Court, which shall review the matter on the basis of the records created before the Board.
(d) The Board shall have the authority to contract for the services of an appellate officer. (Added 2019, No. 164 (Adj. Sess.), § 2, eff. Oct. 7, 2020.)