Someone from the Midwest is looking for cities ready to have a 20,000-square-foot cannabis operation, and at least three are keen to hear more.
Lyle Jepson, executive director of Chamber & Economic Development of the Rutland Region (CEDRR), said he could not reveal the person’s identity, only that they were currently in the cannabis industry thinking of doing business in Vermont and Rutland Counties. depending on finding the right place.
“This person talked about a variety of ways so that it would be smokable and edible. I think he’d do as much as possible based on the rules,” Jepson said.
Last year the state passed a law allowing marijuana retail stores, but cities wishing to open them must vote beforehand.
Jepson said he emailed this information to dozens of towns in Rutland County and had only heard from Brandon so far.
In Rutland Town, Selectman John Paul Faignant said his board of directors voted Tuesday to allow retail cannabis stores to operate in town after discussing Jepson’s email.
Proctor city administrator Greg Maggard said Thursday he had also received the email and is likely to bring it up at a Select Board meeting on Monday to see the board discuss the former Vermont Marble Co. building .
Bill Moore, director of economic development at Brandon, also said he heard about it from Jepson and requested more information.
According to Jepson, this is the third cannabis business his group has contacted in the past four years.
CEDRR was formed relatively recently when the Rutland Regional Chamber of Commerce merged with the Rutland Economic Development Corporation.
“They are smart people, they look at our transportation routes, they try to figure out where the traffic is flowing, they understand that there are many people in the community who are unsettled by the fact that this could happen in their community. So they are looking for options where their retail stores don’t necessarily have to be a store on Main Street, but it would be another place that is a little off the beaten path and of course safe, ”said Jepson.
He said one of his jobs is to connect businesses with local property owners and that the same is the case in other industries as well.
Some cities will all be for cannabis deals, he said, others won’t, but based on what he’s heard so far, he doubts these will be small-scale operations. He had also softened expectations of Vermont industry growth as neighboring states are way ahead of legalization.
“So I’m not sure it’s going to be a huge industry for us as there will be other access points,” he said. “There may be retail stores that don’t have to make and grow parts in Vermont. I think that remains to be seen, ”he said.
Mary Ashcroft, chairwoman of the board at Rutland Town Select, said her board was interested in hearing more.
“We’re interested, and if it goes on and the manufacturer decides we have space in our city, I think we’d have to take other steps and think twice,” she said.
Some potential host locations would be the former Rutland Plywood, the former Diamond Run Mall or the Randbury Road area, where a new waterline has just been introduced to encourage economic development.
According to Moore, not only has Brandon no law banning cannabis operations, but there has been a 15,000-square-foot medical marijuana dispensary for several years.
“So clear the town has a taste for it,” said Moore, adding that he was comfortable telling Jepson what Brandon has to offer. “I don’t think either of us is able to throw away economic opportunities.”
He said if the developer contacts him they will trade information.
keith.whitcomb @ rutlandherald.com