Applicants for Vermont’s adult-use cannabis cultivation, testing and retail licenses will have to wait a little longer to hear back about the status of their applications after the state’s Cannabis Control Board missed a May 1 deadline to begin issuing the licenses.

The state had received more than 400 prequalification applications as of March 29, and Cannabis Control Board Chairman James Pepper told the Brattleboro Reformer that regulators have prequalified roughly 80 applicants from that pool.

No actual licenses have been issued yet, however, despite the May 1 deadline laid out in the legislation regarding the rollout of commercial adult-use sales in the state.

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“This is due to the fact that we don’t have a licensing staff here at the board,” Pepper told the Brattleboro Reformer. “We don’t have our compliance team in place. We thought it would be prudent to have those in place before we start issuing those licenses.”

The licenses include those for small cultivators, testing facilities and “integrated licensees,” which would allow Vermont’s medical cannabis dispensaries to enter the adult-use market first, according to the news outlet.

Pepper told the Brattleboro Reformer that while there has been an “overwhelming response” from potential candidates for the open positions, the missed licensing deadline ultimately stems from a delay in seating the Cannabis Control Board; the Vermont Legislature passed a bill that included funding for staffing later in the year than originally expected, according to the news outlet.

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In addition, the board must advertise the open positions for a certain amount of time before it can hire candidates for the jobs, the Brattleboro Reformer reported.

Vermont is expected to launch adult-use cannabis sales in October, although Pepper said other regulatory agencies are also involved in standing up the market and sticking to the timeline.

“I would hate to look too far ahead, because there are just so many aspects to what we are doing that involve so many different players,” he told the Brattleboro Reformer, citing fire safety and municipal permitting as examples. “It’s hard to say, by Oct. 1, everything will be fine. But from the board’s perspective, we don’t feel this early delay will affect our ability to qualify applications for retail on Oct. 1.”

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Vermont legalized medical cannabis in 2004, and Gov. Phil Scott signed an adult-use legalization bill into law in 2018 that eliminated criminal penalties for the possession of up to an ounce of cannabis and allows residents to grow up to two mature and four immature plants at home for personal use.