With the recent boom in hemp cultivation and production across the Northeast, Vermont sits at an uncertain crossroads. New York and Canada are seeing an increased demand for hemp products, with a corresponding rise in local investment. With larger, adjacent markets to the north and west, this could be a limiting factor in Vermont’s hemp industry development.
Within the year, Vermont is likely to pass a cannabis legalization bill, informing changes and unknown implications for the state’s established hemp industry. However, Vermont is still poised for success with some of the nation’s loosest regulations and a conducive climate for hemp cultivation.
Vermont is an ideal place to grow hemp and manufacture hemp products as it is situated along a similar latitude to major hemp seed producers in Canada and Europe, giving locally-grown seeds a higher germination rate do the climate similarities. Additionally, Vermont is the least taxed and regulated hemp producing state; a growing permit only costs $25, requires no background check, and sets no limits on acreage.
Vermont differs from federal hemp regulations in numerous ways; growers are not required to report what the hemp is being grown for, nor is testing required to check that THC levels are below the federally stipulated 0.3%. According to local industry pundits, Vermont hemp producers are also garnering a much higher price for their product compared to growers from other regions of the nation.
With recreational cannabis legalization around the corner, this laissez-faire attitude towards hemp products could change. The state could move to regulate CBD in a future regulated cannabis market. In addition, New York and Canada are offering grants to hemp growers, which Vermont does not currently do.
Despite these potential obstacles, Vermont is still a likely to attract some of the nation’s most successful hemp cultivators, who want to pursue value-added production in a state whose name is internationally synonymous with quality. “We’ve built a brand and a niche product, and that’s going to make the difference,” explained Kyle Gruter-Curham of Creek Valley Cannabidiol from Irasburg, Vermont, speaking to Marijuana Business Daily.