Cannabis is a dynamic and rapidly expanding industry in Vermont. It’s also the fastest growing in the country with sales expected to reach $6.7 billion in total this year. Women are at the forefront of this burgeoning industry, nationally and locally, in every aspect—as growers, advocates, scientists, herbalists, and business owners.
In Vermont, the legalization of marijuana for personal use in July 2018 gave the people already growing hemp (legalized in 2013 with Act 84) and dispensing medical marijuana (legalized in 2011 with Act 86) a boost from a new crop of enthusiasts growing their own plants and starting to make their own products. The cannabis industry is not yet regulated or taxed by the state, which means that while people can possess up to one ounce of marijuana, they can’t sell it.
CBD: The Healing Compound
There is, however, a cannabis product that people can, and are, selling: cannabidiol, or CBD. CBD, a compound found in both hemp and marijuana (both members of the genus Cannabis), is known to have healing benefits but is not intoxicating like tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the compound that gets you high. THC is present in marijuana (Cannabis sativa or indica), at 5 to 35 percent, but occurs minimally in hemp (a nonpsychoactive variety of C. sativa), at less than 1 percent. Hemp is often bred to contain high levels of CBD, and people are rushing to make products with it that are legal, beneficial, and profitable.
Lauren Andrews, owner of AroMed in Montpelier (www.aromedofvt.com) and one of the first people in the state to sell CBD products three years ago, says, “It’s going to be huge. In five years, it’s going to be like craft brewing in Vermont.”
Lauren Andrews, of AroMed, Montpelier, has opened a new store in the Berlin Mall. photo: Jan Doerler