The state of Vermont has legalized both medical and recreational adult-use marijuana. Subsequently, cannabis businesses in the state are making major moves. CeresMED, the largest medical marijuana company in the state, announced its merging with Canada-based company SLANG. The deal with SLANG is worth approximately $25 million. The company will have priority on Vermont’s tax and regulate market when sales commence in May 2022. This merger has sparked major concern for smaller, local cultivators who are worried about the future of their cannabis sales.
Grower Geoffrey Pizzutillo from the Vermont Growers Association said, “we know people don’t travel for Walmarts, they travel for Hill Farmsteads, they travel for craft products, so that’s who we want to make sure are included in the marketplace as soon as possible, now knowing these three large businesses will be included in the marketplace.” Pizzutillo also said he has been fighting for local producers since lawmakers established the tax and regulated cannabis market.
Getting into bed with big corporations may look lucrative for the higher-ups in Vermont’s cannabis food chain, however, small shops typically suffer in these situations. Big businesses can usually couple their sales of cannabis flower with cheap accessory products such as blunt cones. Bundles and discounts are more easily affordable for big businesses to offer.
Cannabis consultant Eli Harrington shared his thoughts, stating, “Ultimately, I think that a lot of regular people want to buy something legally. But people in Vermont—we take pride in our products. It’s a question for people in Vermont whether corporate cannabis is the first thing we want to do in that legal space.”