By Guy Page
A Senate bill adding to the commercial cannabis law would require more funding for police training and substance abuse prevention, and would reduce licensing fees for minorities, among other proposed changes.
S25, introduced by Sen. Joe Benning (R-Caledonia) and co-sponsored by Sens. Chris Pearson (P-Chittenden), Dick Sears (D-Bennington), and Jeanette White (D-Windham), would add several requirements to the commercial cannabis law passed last year:
- Sets a March, 2022 deadline for all community “opt-in” voting on whether or not to approve commercial cannabis. It also provides a uniform question for all towns: “Shall licensed cannabis retailers and integrated licensees be permitted to sell cannabis to adults 21 years of age and older in this town?”
- Cannabis Control Board shall consider reduced licensing fees for minorities and others who historically have been disproportionately impacted by cannabis prohibition.
- Funding for police training on roadside impairment testing;
- A quarter of “flower” sold by licensees must come from small growers;
- 30% of cannabis excise tax revenue, not to exceed $10 million, shall be used to fund substance misuse prevention.
The Scott administration is still taking applications for the Cannabis Control Board, tasked with establishing the regulatory structure of legal cannabis growing, production and sale. About 94 people have applied, mostly men and mostly white people, according to a Seven Days news story.