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Vermont Recreational Market Off To A Strong Start

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Nearly two years after Vermont’s governor signed recreational cannabis into law, the state’s adult-use program started off impressively, with several retailers selling out of product. Mountain Girl Cannabis, for example, welcomed more than 1,000 visitors Saturday and Sunday, doubling expectations.

There’s A Lot Of Money In Marijuana

The launch of recreational sales in Vermont is expected to be a boon for retailers and consumers alike. According to the 2023 MJBiz Factbook, sales at retailers in Vermont this year are projected to generate between $3 million and $5 million — but by 2026, they could grow as high as $120 million-$145 million.

This year’s early results show that there is a lot of pent-up demand for recreational cannabis. Sales are expected to jump from $40 million-$65 million in 2023, vastly outpacing MMJ estimates of $10 million-$12 million.

About 50 retailers have already been prequalified for licensing under the state’s new program as well, though the majority of these were existing medical retailers.

Lot Of Money In Marijuana

The Challenge Of So Much Demand

In the early days of Vermont’s recreational cannabis industry, supply challenges have been a major issue for some businesses. One such company, Mountain Girl, struggled to procure edibles in its first few weeks of business due to delays in issuing licenses for outdoor cultivators.

With only six licensed manufacturers of any kind and two operational testing labs, Mountain Girl was forced to reach out to its neighbors in Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine to help it build up its inventory.

But beyond inventory concerns, overall operations went pretty smoothly at each store. Only a few minor setbacks occurred, and operators dealt with them efficiently.

Mountain Girl and other dispensaries will likely see strong demand for months as these new stores open their doors across Vermont. However, this boom will inevitably have a crash when supply catches up with demand and prices drop back down again.

Challenge So Much Demand

How Medical Will Deal With Recreational

States like Arizona have seen what happens when recreational takes over medical: people lose access to their medicine. Patients are left behind by dispensaries that can’t keep up with demand and don’t want to deal with new customers who don’t understand how to use cannabis as medication.

Since Vermont is vertically integrating, medical companies are the first to receive licenses and will likely do alright. But the demand is already outweighing the supply, so it’s imperative that Vermont open up more licenses for cultivation and sale, and not just to the existing medical corps.

We want Vermonters to keep their access to quality cannabis, which means the state needs to keep pace with its own demand and doesn’t let small businesses fall by the wayside in favor of big companies who can handle increased production costs.

Vermont’s recreational marijuana industry is off to a great start. We’re happy to see that many Vermonters are taking advantage of the opportunity to enjoy their state’s homegrown cannabis, and we hope that this trend continues far into the future.

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