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Vermont’s Cannabis Industry Left Out In The Cold After Devastating Floods, Federal Aid Refused

The floods that devastated Vermont last week have also had a significant impact on the state’s cannabis industry and by extension the state’s economy. Many marijuana businesses have been damaged or destroyed yet the industry is ineligible for federal disaster aid because cannabis is still illegal under federal law.

Lauren Andrews, owner of Capital Cannabis in Montpelier, which is one of the city’s most affected by the flooding, says she will need to gut her entire shop and start from scratch, reported VTDigger.

Andrews is not alone. Dozens of other cannabis businesses of every license type and size were also affected by the floods. Suppliers, manufacturers, retailers and vendors are all struggling to recover.

The cannabis industry is particularly vulnerable to the effects of the flooding because it is a closed-loop system, as businesses rely on each other for supplies and services. If one business is affected, it can have a ripple effect throughout the entire industry.

“It’s a very interdependent relationship,” Andrews said. “When one of us goes down, it hurts everyone.”

No Federal Help For Cannabis – Not Even Farmers

The entire industry including cannabis farmers, is ineligible for federal disaster aid, such as loans or grants from the Small Business Administration, FEMA and other agencies. 

Cannabis farmers are also ineligible for federal crop insurance money. Even if Gov. Phillip Scott (R)’s emergency request for a U.S. Department of Agriculture disaster declaration is approved, cannabis farmers will be left out.

Important For State Economy

The cannabis industry is an important part of Vermont’s economy, said James Pepper, chair of Vermont’s Cannabis Control Board. He said the board is doing everything it can to help businesses recover, including going after state money.

“I think the best thing that we can do at the Cannabis Board is collect the data and present it to the Legislature,” Pepper said. “And then we’ll see if there is a political will to help the businesses that are very severely hurt by this.”

Want to discuss other state issues affecting the cannabis industry and how the lack of federal funding is affecting so many? Join us at the Benzinga Cannabis Capital Conference in Chicago on Sept 27-28. Get your tickets today before prices go up and secure a spot at the epicenter of cannabis culture, politics, investment and branding.

Photo: Capital Weather Gang Twitter

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