Vermont: Medical Marijuana on the Rise

Medical marijuana is more popular than ever in Vermont. According to the state Public Safety Department, more than 1,000 patients are legally using medicinal pot in Vermont – a 90 percent increase from this time a year ago.

The number of caregivers – those who help patients obtain medical marijuana by growing or getting it from licensed dispensaries – is also up. There are currently 153 caregivers in Vermont – a 74 percent increase from last year.

While many medical marijuana patients are satisfied with the current program, some growing pains have been reported. According to the owner of the state’s first medical pot dispensary, sales revenues don’t cover the cost of producing pot. The Champlain Valley Dispensary is looking for investors to expand and help offset operating costs.

Additionally, some patients report difficulty obtaining certain strains that are helpful in treating their conditions. One such patient from South Burlington explains she’s spent the last three months in Colorado because the strain she prefers to treat her epilepsy is unavailable in Vermont.

Nonetheless, the pro-pot group Marijuana Policy Project believes Vermont’s medical cannabis program “is a tremendous model of success … They’ve done a terrific job.”

The state medical pot law was passed in 2004 and revised to allow dispensaries in 2011. There are currently four dispensaries operating statewide but the Legislature appears close to revising the program once again to allow two additional dispensaries.

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