Recreational cannabis shops finally opened for business on October 1 to lines of people who were patiently waiting since the crack of dawn. After all, Vermont legislators took fully two years to sign off on retail cannabis sales and more than four years after they’d agreed on personal cultivation and possession.
In Burlington on Saturday, the Ceres Collaborative storefront was decorated with banners and balloons. Ceres, which has operated the oldest medical marijuana dispensary in Vermont, is now among one of the state’s first recreational weed shops. Ceres is the first vertically-integrated business unit of SLANG Worldwide SLGWF, a leading global cannabis consumer packaged goods (CPG) company.
"I think people have been in good spirits and are looking forward to this as much as we have. The weather's been beautiful, so we're really excited, we’ve got a line and people are happy to be here," said Russ Todia, COO of the Ceres Collaborative which has been selling MMJ for a decade.
With Vermont-grown weed still in short supply, the trio of retailers that received state licenses in time for Saturday’s opening had somewhat limited offerings.
Cultivators Are Also Ecstatic
“It’s like Christmas Eve, 11th hour,” said Jane Lanza of the Family Tree Hemp and Cannabis Company. “We’ve been up all night long preparing for this, unwrapping or unraveling of the marketplace here.” Family Tree is a 600-plant grow operation in Vermont’s Franklin County.
Long Wait Has Not Been Cannabis-Less, However
Vermont has a tradition of tolerance toward marijuana use. Many weed consumers already had their local dealer or have been growing their own cannabis plants, especially since the state allowed limited growing and possession in 2018.
Nevertheless, consumers were still psyched to buy retail weed for the first time.
“Things are changing and things are good. It’s about time,” said Bryan Menard – shopper number one at the Ceres Collaborative on Saturday morning. “It’s nice to go to your local market and not go to a back alley.”
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