Introducing a new, legal cannabis market is undoubtedly exciting for customers. Between different strains, the budtender’s expertise, and the relief that cannabis is legal, it can feel surreal to some. However, it’s an overwhelming emotion for everyone working in the cannabis industry, whether behind the bar or in executive positions.
That’s exactly what’s happening in Vermont, MJBiz reports. The Green Mountain State is transitioning from medical to the retail sale of cannabis, and the demand is surging beyond anyone’s expectations. The three first dispensaries to open, Mountain Girl Cannabis in Rutland, Flora, Cannabis in Middlebury, and Ceres Collaborative in South Burlington, opened up shop over the weekend to glorious results.
Some locations only have up to a handful of strains in inventory. Mountain Girl Cannabis, for example, witnessed a rush of 1,000 customers on Saturday and Sunday. Co-founder Josh Macduff revealed that it was double what they initially anticipated. While their customers’ smiles were on their faces, the options were limited. The retail shop carries nine flower strains with THC, two CBD strains, and a selection of pre-rolled joints.
Products are flying off the shelves — an excellent sign for cultivators and dispensaries. However, they quickly realized that the demand was beginning to outweigh the supply. Cannabis dispensaries expressed anxiety over limited products and selections. Meanwhile, cultivators and growers are now trying their hardest to turn out more cannabis on a larger scale.
Another issue that’s causing concern is the delay in licenses. The tightknit industry in Vermont consists of six licensed manufacturers and two testing labs. But before launching, Vermont regulators have warned operators and consumers that the hold-up could create issues with supply during this transitioning period.
Cres was directly impacted by the license delays, even if they opened up in time. The state’s cannabis board issued an adult-use license to Cres just days before recreational sales launched. They impressively locked in enough inventory for nearly three weeks during a 48-hour rush to set up shop.
Unfortunately, these same dispensaries that experienced triumphant openings similarly faced a few setbacks. Certain products, such as edibles and concentrates, became challenging to procure. Macduff said Mountain Girl Cannabis had no concentrates except a few carts, which rapidly sold out.
Excitement might be high for legalization in general, but it seems like operators expect non-flower products to generate significant revenue in the foreseeable future. Such is the case for Flora, whose co-founder Dave Silberman said they believed it would make up half of their earnings. However, he expressed his hope that they would be able to have gummies available within a week.
Despite certain businesses’ problems, it seems like Vermont’s recreational sales are off to a good start. Each dispensary revealed that the minor hiccups didn’t take away from their massive win. It’s a promising sign for what’s to come in the future. Industry forecasters predict retailers will rake in $3 million to $5 million in 2022. Next year, Vermont expects that number to grow between $40 million and $65 million. By 2026, it’ll be breaking the 9-figure mark to $120 million – $145 million.