Vermont CCB Recommends Regulating Concentrates Over 60% THC, Patient-Focused MMJ Advisory Board and More in Nov 1 Report

Vermont Marijuana by Christina Lillie

MONTPELIER — The Vermont Cannabis Control board submitted its November 1 report to the Legislature on Monday, wrapping up a busy month of rulemaking on major components of the state’s future adult use pot industry, two major reports and no shortage of public commentary.

The Board’s latest report made recommendations regarding solid concentrate products above 60% THC, conversion of hemp or CBD to Delta-9 THC, and the Medical Cannabis Registry advisory entity, bringing answers to oft-repeated questions brought up in public comment periods by local medical cannabis advocates, cultivators and product makers.

Act 62, which was enacted this past legislative session, making amendments to Act 164, tasks the Cannabis Control Board with delivering two reports to the legislature this year.

On Friday, October 15, the Control Board submitted its first major report to lawmakers, outlining recommended licensing fees and other requirements for Vermont’s upcoming adult use cannabis market. The nearly 70-page document lays the groundwork for state regulation of a legal market starting next year. The board proposed rules and fees, subject to legislative approval, for those who will grow, process, test and sell the weed.

The second report, delivered Monday, makes recommendations regarding solid concentrates and prohibited products, conversion of hemp into THC, and changes to the medical cannabis registry advisory body.

Major recommendations highlighted from the most recent report include:

  • The Board recommends removing from the prohibited products in 7 V.S.A. § 868 solid concentrates with a THC concentration of 60% or above for adults 25 years of age and older so that the CCB can regulate the manufacture and sale of these products.
  • The Board, in consultation with the Agency of Agriculture, recommends that the jurisdiction of the CCB’s cannabis program encompass the manufacture and sale of products containing Delta-8, Delta9, other Deltas, and future synthetic cannabinoids with similar properties, whether they are derived from hemp or from high-THC cannabis.

In regulating these products, the Board proposes to: Create a license category for hemp producers who intend to synthesize products for the adult-use cannabis market; and create a product registration process

  • The Board recommends that the Medical Cannabis advisory entity be composed of the following 12 members, including six registered patients, three registered caregivers, two licensed health care professionals with knowledge of using cannabis for symptom relief, and one licensed cultivator with expertise in medical strains appointed by the CCB from a list provided by a Vermont cannabis cultivation advocacy organization.

This advisory board will make recommendations to the CCB regarding the ability of patients and registered caregivers in all areas of the State to obtain timely, affordable, and safe access to cannabis for symptom relief, among other things.

Public Commentary Centers around Concentrates, Medical Patients

A spirited public comment session took place last Tuesday evening, which included heated debates over the fate of Vermont’s medical patients and a controversial ban on solid concentrates with more than 60% THC.

“All the members of that committee are from the dispensaries, specifically one dispensary,” said Jessilyn Dolan, founder of NurseGrown Organics and president of the Vermont Cannabis Nurses Association. “I do see that as a conflict of interest.”

“All the members of that committee are from the dispensaries, specifically one dispensary. I do see that as a conflict of interest.” — Jessilyn D.

Dolan, along with several other patients, expressed concern that medical patients were going to be lost in the shuffle as Vermont’s adult-use market comes into play.

Attendee Caroline P chimed in with her agreement in Dolan’s sentiment, saying, “I live in the southern part of the state and with my medical condition… It’s not possible for me to attend these meetings and I’d like to make my voice heard.”

“Consumers that want these products will obtain them on the illicit market, and that market will continue to thrive.” — Sam B.

Sam B described common practices for hash making processes, and pointed out the potential drawbacks of placing restrictions on high-concentrate products. “It will be almost impossible for it to be under 60%, which means the products will not be allowed on the retail market, which means that consumers that want these products will obtain them on the illicit market, and that market will continue to thrive,” he said. He also expressed concerns about accessibility for medical patients.

“I firmly believe that high concentrates have their place in a responsible market.” — Brian A.

Brian Ashram, who described himself as a native Vermonter, talked about his experiences providing medical cannabis while serving as his sick wife’s caretaker. “In all this time she wouldn’t try edibles…I finally let her try a strong edible and she had the best night of sleep she’d had in months.” he said. “High concentrates, with the right people and circumstances, can be used responsibly for very productive purposes. I firmly believe that high concentrates have their place in a responsible market.”

Another entertaining highlight was Dr. C. Cantley, who warned of high concentrate THC causing mental health problems, and used the word “psychosis” so many times that we lost count after 20-something.

Other Developments

Late last month, the Board set a rule prohibiting retail cannabis stores within 500 feet walking distance from a school. The rule adopted by the board will allow towns to reduce buffer zones – or expand them to up to 1,000 feet.

The three key members of the CCB debated rulemaking for existing dispensaries in their Wednesday meeting last week, including integrated operation requirements and transfer of inventory into the adult-use market.

“What we’ve been trying to do in our market structure is really focus on small cultivators.”

“We’ve heard over and over again about craft cultivators,” said Control Board Commissioner James Pepper. “And that there’s going to be some sort of big weed takeover…what we’ve been trying to do in our market structure is really focus on small cultivators.”

A bill passed by the Legislature earlier this year strengthening equity measures in Vermont’s retail cannabis market requires retailers, including integrated licensees, to buy 25% of their cannabis flower from licensed small cultivators.

In Wednesday’s meeting, Control Board member Julie Hulburd expressed concern about preventing loopholes in requiring that integrated license holders purchase 25% of their inventory from small cultivators.

And during a debate over transfer of medical dispensaries’ existing inventory to the adult-use market, Hulburd and board member Kyle Harris asked why transfer had been requested. Pepper said that the medical subcommittee “had requested it.”

Hulburd said of deciding details around the inventory transfer, “I need to hear public comment on that, particularly from patients,” with Harris agreeing. Pepper agreed to take it out and leave it for further discussion.

What’s Next?

Both reports have now been filed to several House and Senate committees that may hear testimony in the next several weeks, before the full legislature reconvenes in January.

The market’s anticipated launch comes after Vermont in October 2020 became the 11th state to legalize adult-use sales.

The state’s vertically integrated medical cannabis dispensaries, which are owned by multistate operators, will get a head start in the new market. Recreational sales are expected to begin at those dispensaries in May 2022.

Newly licensed cultivators, by comparison, are expected to launch by May, with new retailers going online on or before October.

Vermont projects adult-use retail cannabis sales are projected to be $10 million by the end of 2022, with sales only taking place in the final quarter of the year.

The adult-use market will begin to ramp up in 2023, reaching $103 million in sales and then doubling in 2024 to about $220 million. From there, sales are projected to plateau.

Town halls are planned for November 18 and 19 to receive public comment on equity measures and other adult-use rulemaking aspects. “ We’re trying to do one in the southern part of the state or centrally located so we can get some different people,” Hulburd said during the Wednesday meeting of the Board last week.

GOVERNOR PHIL SCOTT LIFTS MASK MANDATE FOR VACCINATED INDIVIDUALS, ACCELERATES VERMONT FORWARD PLAN

Moves Follow Updated CDC Guidance and as Vermont Continues to Lead the Nation in Vaccinations

Montpelier, Vt. – Governor Phil Scott today announced that because Vermont has already hit its necessary vaccination threshold with over 60% of the population receiving at least one dose, it will move into Step 3 of the Vermont Forward Plan more than two weeks ahead of the anticipated schedule.

Additionally, following updated guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Governor signed an executive order lifting the State’s masking and physical distancing requirements for fully vaccinated individuals in Vermont. You are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after the final dose of your COVID-19 vaccine.

Both steps are effective today.

“Today marks a major step forward in our efforts to end this pandemic and get back to doing more of the things we’ve missed over the past 14 months,” said Governor Scott. “Vermont has led the nation in many ways throughout the pandemic, including our vaccination efforts. This puts us in the best position in the nation to safely take these steps based on the CDC guidance.”

“We have been eagerly awaiting this, and know that it is based on current science, research and data,” said Health Commissioner Mark Levine, MD. “This guidance makes sense for Vermont, because as thousands more Vermonters become fully vaccinated each day, life can, and should, begin to look normal again.”

Governor Scott emphasized that Vermonters’ commitment to getting vaccinated is critical to the state meeting its goal for lifting all remaining requirements on, or before, the 4th of July.

“Your shot is safe, easy and effective,” said Dr. Levine. “So, whether you prefer to make an appointment, go to a walk-in or mobile clinic, a partner pharmacy or any of the special vaccination events happening around the state, go to healthvermont.gov/MyVaccine or call 855-722-7878 to find a vaccination opportunity near you.”

UPDATED MASKING ORDER

Following CDC guidance, masking and physical distancing for fully vaccinated Vermonters – except in limited circumstances like in schools, on public transportation, healthcare settings, long term care facilities, prisons etc. – is no longer required. The mandate remains in place for those who are unvaccinated or partially vaccinated, including children who are not yet eligible for a vaccine.

Consistent with previous steps forward, businesses and municipalities can implement stricter guidance, if they choose.

VERMONT FORWARD STEP 3

Step 3 of the Vermont Forward plan removes the testing requirement for travel and increases event and gathering capacity restrictions.

The new gathering sizes will allow for one unvaccinated person per 50 square feet, up to 300, plus any number of vaccinated people for indoor events; and 900 people, plus any number of vaccinated people, outdoors.

State websites are currently being updated to reflect the updated guidance and acceleration of Step 3.

To view the full Vermont Forward Plan, visit vermont.gov/vermont-forward.

To view the updated executive order, click here.

###

GOVERNOR PHIL SCOTT MARCH 27 ADDRESS ON SCHOOL DISMISSAL

Montpelier, Vt. – At a press conference Friday, Governor Phil Scott and members of his administration provided an update on the Governor’s directive to dismiss schools for in-person instruction for the remainder of 2019-2020 school year.

“The education of our kids, along with the bonding and learning experiences they get at school, are incredibly important, so I fully understand and appreciate the impact this will have on our kids individually and families across Vermont,” said Governor Scott. “But from my vantage point, I believe it’s the right decision because it’s for the health of our kids, communities and the entire state. That’s why we’re doing this—to keep people safe, to slow the spread and to save lives.”

For the latest information and guidance relating to Vermont’s COVID-19 response, visit www.healthvermont.gov/covid19.

 

Here’s a Transcript of Governor Scott Press Conference:

 

Good morning. Thank you all for continuing to tune into these important updates.

As this pandemic continues, the health and safety of all Vermonters is my top priority. Every decision I’ve made is guided by what’s best for public health based on the best science we have available. And, as I’ve said, as the virus continues to spread and we learn more about COVID-19, Vermonters can expect we may have to take further action to help slow it down.

Slowing the spread of infection is critical to making sure we can protect the vulnerable, meaning the elderly and others who are at risk for serious illness and, in too many cases, even death.

These steps are also necessary to keep our healthcare system from being overwhelmed like we’re seeing right before our eyes in other states like New York. What we’re doing is important to the health and safety of all Vermonters.

To help reach these goals, on March 15, I ordered the temporary dismissal of schools. While we hoped this would be enough, that has not proven to be the case.

So, working closely with the experts at our Department of Health and the Agency of Education, I came to the difficult decision to extend dismissal and close in-person instruction at schools for the remainder of the school year. However, to make sure our kids continue learning, I’m asking districts to complete plans for continued education through remote learning so we’re ready to go April 13.

I know this news is incredibly difficult. Let’s face it: It’s disappointing, frustrating and it’s just plain sad for kids, parents, teachers and all school employees. My heart goes out to all of you. It’s going to be hard. I know that.

The education of our kids, along with the bonding and learning experiences they get at school, are incredibly important, so I fully understand and appreciate the impact this will have on our kids individually, and families across Vermont.

But from my vantage point, I believe it’s the right decision because it’s for the health of our kids, communities and the entire state. That’s why we’re doing this—to keep people safe, to slow the spread, to save lives.

The sobering reality is: Before too long, each of us will know someone who has lost their life from this virus. That’s why we must come together and support each other to get through this.

Even with this decision, it’s my hope that with the mitigation steps we’ve taken, our children will be able to return at the end of the year for activities like graduation. But we won’t make that decision until we’re certain it’s safe.

For now, we need to use our creativity to find ways to deliver quality remote learning for our students through the end of the school year.

I want to thank school administrators, superintendents, educators and staff around the state who are working hard to adapt to incredibly challenging circumstances. The fact is, we need your help and we appreciate your public service.

Childcare providers will also remain closed but will still be able to provide care for the children of those workers critical to the state’s response. I’ve been impressed with school districts who have worked very hard to set up creative and critically needed programs to offer care for students whose parents are working on the frontlines. These educators and staff, who are finding ways to support these families, have been so important to our COVID-19 response efforts.

I’m proud and appreciative of their hard work, creative can-do attitude and their willingness to step up in this moment of service. These educators, and the staff supporting them, represent the very best of our public education system.

We find ourselves at a time when there’s no road map available. So, our education leaders, parents and kids—and all Vermonters for that matter—have never been asked to do anything quite like this. But these times require all of us to think outside of the box to find creative solutions, and we must work together to ensure we still get the best outcomes possible for our kids.

I want to assure you, me and my team are here to help every step of the way as we navigate these uncharted waters together. Our way out of this is using the best information we have, common sense about what we want and what we need and working together in service to Vermonters. 

The Agency of Education will be providing technical guidance to districts by the end of this week and Secretary French is with us on the phone today to answer questions.

I want to thank the many education leaders, teachers, parents, staff and others who’ve stepped up during this difficult time. I know this is not easy. But your commitment to public service and your ability to adapt is exactly what we need.

It’s what makes us Vermont strong—and united as well. We will get through this and we’ll do it together.

Reckless Endangerment, Negligent Operation

FRANKLIN COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE PRESS RELEASE

TYPE OF INCIDENT: Reckless Endangerment, Negligent Operation
DATE OF INCIDENT: February 3, 2020
TIME OF INCIDENT: 2244 hours
LOCATION OF INCIDENT: Fairfax, Vermont

NAME: Phoebe Knox
AGE: 19
ADDRESS: St. Albans, Vermont

SUMMARY OF INCIDENT: On February 3, 2020 at approximately 2200 hours, a Franklin County Sheriff’s Deputy was conducting speed enforcement on Route 104 near Toof Road when the Deputy observed a vehicle traveling north on Route 104 at a speed greater than the posted 50 mph speed limit.

Once the vehicle passed the Deputy, it began to accelerate away. As the Deputy approached the intersection of Woods Edge Road, the Deputy noticed the vehicle off the roadway approximately five feet from a telephone pole. The operator was identified as Phoebe Knox, 19 of St Albans, Vermont. Investigation revealed that Knox attempted to flee from the Deputy before losing control and going off the roadway. Knox had a passenger in the vehicle at the time and no one was injured.

Knox was taken into custody and transported to the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office in St Albans for processing. She was released with a citation to appear in Franklin County District Court-Criminal Division on March 9, 2020 at 1300 hours.

Four Years Later, Trump Still Owes Burlington for Campaign Rally

  • A Burlington police officer on Main Street during the Trump rally   FILE: MATTHEW THORSEN

On January 7, 2016, thousands of people lined Burlington’s Main Street to get a glimpse of the nation’s would-be president, Donald J. Trump, at the Flynn Center for the Performing Arts.
Four years later, Trump still hasn’t paid the city’s $8,500 bill for the additional police officers, firefighters and rescue personnel that were required to work that night.
Meanwhile, Trump’s 2020 reelection campaign is in full swing. He’s raised more than $200 million since 2017, including a $46 million haul during the fourth quarter of 2019, according to the campaign and finance disclosure filings. Even before he was elected, city officials wanted Trump to pay up — but had little reason to think he would. In June 2016, the city decided against suing the Trump campaign over the bill, saying in a press release that it would not be “cost effective for the City to pursue collections remedies through the courts.”
“Paying the invoice remains the right and honorable thing for Mr. Trump to do,” Mayor Miro Weinberger said in a statement at the time.  Burlington isn’t the only community Trump has stiffed: He owes at least nine other municipalities cash for campaign rally costs, according to a June 2019 report from the Center for Public Integrity.Two former White House denizens have an even older outstanding bill with the Queen City. The Obamas owe Burlington nearly $5,900 for campaign events held during their second term, according to city records. Then-first lady Michelle Obama held two fundraisers in Vermont in June 2011, including one at the ECHO Leahy Center for Lake Champlain that cost $5,000 per person or $10,000 per couple to attend. The city billed the campaign $2,064 for police services, according to Weinberger spokesperson Olivia LaVecchia.
In March 2012, then-president Barack Obama wooed a crowd of 4,400 at the University of Vermont’s Patrick Gymnasium on his reelection tour, raising an estimated $750,000, Seven Days reported then. Burlington police billed $2,816 for the 10 officers who provided traffic control and security; the fire department asked for a $1,015 reimbursement. All bills remain unpaid, LaVecchia said Tuesday. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), however, did pay his $858 bill for his May 2015 presidential campaign kickoff on the Burlington waterfront, which required four police officers and two firefighter/EMTs. Trump campaign treasurer Bradley Crate did not immediately respond to a request for comment. An inquiry to the office of Barack and Michelle Obama was also not immediately returned.

Our favorite holiday lights photos around Burlington Vermont

20 PHOTOS

2:37 p.m. EST Dec. 20, 2019

A light-bedecked Eiffel Tower — approximately one meter tall — glows on Elm Terrace in Burlington on Dec. 18, 2019.

A light-bedecked Eiffel Tower — approximately one meter tall — glows on Elm Terrace in Burlington on Dec. 18, 2019.

JOEL BANNER BAIRD

Tree-mounted lights decorate the Slate shop window on Church Street in Burlington on Dec. 19, 2019.

Tree-mounted lights decorate the Slate shop window on Church Street in Burlington on Dec. 19, 2019.

JOEL BANNER BAIRD

Christmas lights adorn a home on Vermont 116 in St. George.

Christmas lights adorn a home on Vermont 116 in St. George.

BRENT HALLENBECK

An ornamental snowflake mounted within a bicycle wheel is illuminated by morning sunlight and display-window lights at North Star Sports in Burlington on Dec. 19, 2019.

An ornamental snowflake mounted within a bicycle wheel is illuminated by morning sunlight and display-window lights at North Star Sports in Burlington on Dec. 19, 2019.

JOEL BANNER BAIRD

The Pomerleau Real Estate building all lit up for the holiday. December 2019.

The Pomerleau Real Estate building all lit up for the holiday. December 2019.

APRIL BARTON

Pomerleau Real Estate building decorated for the holiday. December 2019.

Pomerleau Real Estate building decorated for the holiday. December 2019.

APRIL BARTON

Pedestrians enjoy holiday lights on Burlington's Church Street Marketplace on Dec. 4, 2019.


Pedestrians enjoy holiday lights on Burlington’s Church Street Marketplace on Dec. 4, 2019.

APRIL MCCULLUM

One of S.D. Ireland's cement mixer trucks glows with holiday cheer at Severance Corners in Colchester on Dec. 17, 2019.

One of S.D. Ireland’s cement mixer trucks glows with holiday cheer at Severance Corners in Colchester on Dec. 17, 2019.

APRIL MCCULLUM

Holiday lights beam from a home at Winooski Avenue and Howard Street in Burlington on Dec. 3, 2019.

Holiday lights beam from a home at Winooski Avenue and Howard Street in Burlington on Dec. 3, 2019.

JOEL BANNER BAIRD

An ice rink in the front yard reflects holiday lights at a home in South Burlington on Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2019.

An ice rink in the front yard reflects holiday lights at a home in South Burlington on Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2019.

AKI SOGA

The elaborate display of holiday lights up  the front yard of a home in South Burlington on Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2019.

The elaborate display of holiday lights up the front yard of a home in South Burlington on Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2019.

AKI SOGA

A Christmas wreath lights up the chimney of a home in South Burlington on Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2019.

A Christmas wreath lights up the chimney of a home in South Burlington on Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2019.

AKI SOGA

Festive lights adorn a house in South Burlington on Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2019.

Festive lights adorn a house in South Burlington on Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2019.

AKI SOGA

A house in South Burlington is decked out for the holidays on Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2019.

A house in South Burlington is decked out for the holidays on Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2019.

AKI SOGA

Williston's Maple Tree Place decorated for the holiday season. December 2019.

Williston’s Maple Tree Place decorated for the holiday season. December 2019.

APRIL BARTON

Apartments getting into the spirit in Williston. December 2019.

Apartments getting into the spirit in Williston. December 2019.

APRIL BARTON

Maple Tree Place in Williston lit up for the season. December 2019.

Maple Tree Place in Williston lit up for the season. December 2019.

APRIL BARTON

Footprints in the snow leading to the tree in the Maple Tree Place square in Williston. December 2019.


Footprints in the snow leading to the tree in the Maple Tree Place square in Williston. December 2019.

APRIL BARTON

Christ Memorial Church gets into the Christmas spirit by decorating their trees. December 2019

Christ Memorial Church gets into the Christmas spirit by decorating their trees. December 2019

APRIL BARTON

Homes in Williston getting into the Christmas spirit. December 2019.

Homes in Williston getting into the Christmas spirit. December 2019.

APRIL BARTON

Jimmy T Thurston, ‘Vermont’s Grandfather of Rock and Roll,’ Dies at 78

Jimmy T Thurston - COURTESY OF JAMIE LEE THURSTON

  • COURTESY OF JAMIE LEE THURSTON
  • Jimmy T Thurston

On Friday, December 6, Jimmy T Thurston played a show at the Old Post with his longtime band, the Cobras. In true Jimmy T style, it was a rowdy and raucous night at the South Burlington roadhouse.
“I heard it was crazy good,” said Thurston’s son, country singer Jamie Lee Thurston. “The whole place was standing up, guitar player ripping solos. I heard it was great.”
Though no one knew it at the time, it was also Jimmy T’s last show. The Vermont rocker, known to many as “Vermont’s Grandfather of Rock and Roll,” died on Sunday, December 15. He was 78.

Jimmy T Thurston - BRAD BOQUET

  • BRAD BOQUET
  • Jimmy T Thurston

“He lived like he wanted to live and went out six days after a gig,” said Jamie Lee. “With the exception of stepping off stage and dropping dead after a show like that, I think that’s a pretty darn good way to go.”
Jimmy T had been a fixture in Green Mountain rock and roll since the 1960s. Born in Waterbury, the 12th-generation Vermonter played nightclubs, dive bars, juke joints, VFWs and county fairs all over the state for 70 years. He played his first gigs when he was 8, according to a 2012 story in the Essex Reporter.
His bands included the Mustangs, the Jimmy “T” X-perience, the Jimmy T. Thurston Band, Boogy Beast and Jimmy T and the Cobras, the last two of which were perhaps his best known and most successful acts. He also played with a group called Rip Van Winkle and the Sleepy Hollow Boys, the name a not-so-subtle nod to his signature long white beard.
Jamie Lee is a noted country singer-songwriter who grew up performing with his dad in Vermont. He now lives in Nashville, where he’s enjoyed some commercial success, including penning tunes for the likes of Trace Adkins and Rodney Atkins. He’s performed with country stars such as the late Waylon Jennings, the Dixie Chicks, Jason Aldean and Charlie Daniels. On Saturday, December 14, the night before his father died, Jamie Lee played a show at the Rusty Nail in Stowe.

Jamie Lee Thurston, left, and Jimmy T Thurston - COURTESY OF JAMIE LEE THURSTON

  • COURTESY OF JAMIE LEE THURSTON
  • Jamie Lee Thurston, left, and Jimmy T Thurston

Jimmy T was supposed to attend his son’s homecoming gig, but a couple of days after the Old Post show, he’d begun feeling ill and was eventually diagnosed with a virus.
“I called him on the way to the show and he sounded sick, but he was still cracking jokes,” Jamie Lee said.
“It was one of those stellar nights,” said Jamie Lee of his Rusty Nail gig. “After the show, he said he and some friends got a couple rooms and got into some tequila. “Ironically, about the time I went to bed was about the time he had gotten up,” Jamie Lee said, “and then he passed away not long after that.”
Jamie Lee woke up that morning to a flood of messages from friends and family. He eventually called his mother, who told him the news.
“I felt like Mike Tyson gave me a left hook,” he said. “Like I got run over by a freight train.”
Jamie Lee said that he and his sisters, Debbie West and Vicky Cleland, hope to start a fund in their dad’s name, the proceeds of which would go to the music program at the Waterbury Elementary School.
Jimmy T was also nearing completion on a new record, a follow-up to his 2012 album Welcome to My Country and a 2016 EP, VT’s #1 Outlaw.
“We’ve talked about doing a record-release party later [next] year, in June or July,” said Jamie Lee.

Jamie Lee Thurston, left, and Jimmy T Thurston - ROSS NICKEL / BOOTLEGGER BEWARE PHOTOGRAPHY

  • ROSS NICKEL / BOOTLEGGER BEWARE PHOTOGRAPHY
  • Jamie Lee Thurston, left, and Jimmy T Thurston

A celebration of Jimmy T Thurston’s life is planned for January 5, in the afternoon, at the Ballroom of the Hilton Burlington Lake Champlain — the same room where Jamie Lee used to play New Year’s Eve shows with local country radio station WOKO. Specific details are still in the works and will be announced soon. But Jamie Lee said you can count on plenty of music.
“That’s a good assumption,” he said with a laugh.

https://youtu.be/pbKil9amqfs

Good Times Gallery owner will serve prison time for selling marijuana, witness tampering

Elizabeth Murray, Burlington Free Press Published 8:26 a.m. ET Dec. 18, 2019

The former owner of Church Street business Good Times Gallery arrested for selling marijuana out of his downtown shop will spend more than two years in federal prison.

Derek Spilman, 45, appeared in U.S. District Court in Burlington on Monday, where he was sentenced to 29 months in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release.

He had pleaded guilty in August to conspiring to distribute marijuana, being a drug user in possession of a firearm and witness tampering.

A screen shot of court papers filed with U.S. District Court shows a photo included as an exhibit by the U.S. Attorney's Office that depicts the distance between Good Times Gallery and Full Tank on Church Street.

A screen shot of court papers filed with U.S. District Court shows a photo included as an exhibit by the U.S. Attorney’s Office that depicts the distance between Good Times Gallery and Full Tank on Church Street. (Photo: Free Press)

Original arrest in January

Spilman, who was originally arrested in late January, has been detained in federal custody since March. His detention came after a judge found that Spilman violated conditions of release by attempting to intimidate a witness in the case.

Spilman’s nephew took responsibility for one of the intimidation tactics — smearing dog feces on the storefront window of the business next door — but was later found to have lied under oath.

Derek Aviles pleaded guilty to witness tampering in July, and he is scheduled to be sentenced in January.

A screenshot of federal court papers shows photos of Derek Spilman, the owner of Good Times Gallery, on the day of his arrest in late January 2019.

A screenshot of federal court papers shows photos of Derek Spilman, the owner of Good Times Gallery, on the day of his arrest in late January 2019. (Photo: Free Press)

Spilman’s mother Donna Mahar has also pleaded guilty to witness tampering for her role in pressuring Aviles to take credit for her son’s actions. She is scheduled to be sentenced in February.

Both Mahar and Aviles remain free on conditions while their cases are pending.

ReadMore

Deer spotted frolicking on Vt. Statehouse lawn Deer spotted frolicking on Vt. Statehouse lawn

The Statehouse lawn was a big draw for some special guests over the weekend hoping to avoid hunting season.

A small herd of deer was captured on video by the Montpelier Police frolicking in the snow. While it is a beautiful sight, police warned in a Facebook post, it’s also a reminder to keep an eye out for deer as you drive.

Deer are mating this time of the year and are facing pressure from hunters pushing them into areas they aren’t usually seen.

Rifle hunting is restricted inside Montpelier city limit

The Cannabis Catch-Up: Has Vermont’s Hemp Bubble Popped?

By SASHA GOLDSTEIN

Fields of green? - KEN PICARD

  • KEN PICARD
  • Fields of green?

Vermont is in the middle of a hemp boom.
Hundreds of farmers of all sizes and skills registered with the state about 9,000 acres for hemp in 2019. Most joined the green rush to capitalize on the popularity of cannabidiol-infused everything.
Yet all that glitters is not gold. Those who didn’t line up buyers before the season are finding that out the hard way. In fact, some hemp farmers will have to leave crops in the field to rot as demand fails to meet supply, VTDigger.org reports. Bigger companies, including Sunsoil in the Northeast Kingdom, are having no such problems.
“I see the mistakes folks are making and I wish I could warn everybody,” Sunsoil cofounder Alejandro Bergad told Digger. “Farmers are going into this without knowledge of where they are going to dry their products in a sanitary environment, and without knowledge of where they are going to fit into the supply chain.”
That’s certainly the case when some 1,000 farmers are taking a stab at hemp production this year. And that’s just in Vermont; production is up in other states as well. In Kentucky, for example, farmers planted an estimated 60,000 acres of hemp this year, more than six times Vermont’s output.
Here are some other recent cannabis stories we’ve followed:


October 6: As a trade war rages on and CBD becomes all the rage, farmers nationwide are turning to hemp to diversify their crops. An estimated 285,000 acres of hemp was planted across the country this year. [Amelia Nierenberg, the New York Times]


October 6: “Marijuana should not be legalized because it is popular. Pennsylvania should legalize recreational marijuana because it is the right thing to do.” [Editorial Board, the Philadelphia Inquirer]


October 7: If you’re hoping to nab that “I Love Weed, LLC” business name in Vermont then you better get on it: “Already, there are 68 active businesses, nonprofits or trademarks with the word ‘cannabis’ in their name, according to filings with the Secretary of State.” [Isaac Fornarola, Burlington Free Press]


October 10: “Though ‘wine mom’ culture has long been the source of many a mommy meme and largely socially acceptable, marijuana-using moms are stepping out of the shadows and proudly extolling the virtues of cannabis.” [Genevieve Shaw Brown, “Good Morning America”]


October 11: People in the Illinois cannabis industry are already bracing for weed shortages when recreational dispensaries open for business in January 2020. [Ally Marotti, Chicago Tribune]


October 11: “Public cannabis companies are facing a capital crunch as investors are recognizing that some firms were vastly overvalued and sweeping regulatory changes may come later than previously hoped.” [Alicia Wallace, CNN Business]


October 12: U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) spent two days visiting with members of California’s cannabis industry, raising hopes that he might change his tune on cannabis banking reform. Purveyors of legal pot have pushed for the SAFE Banking Act, which would allow banks to do business with marijuana companies in states that have legalized it. The House passed the bill but it faces an uphill climb in the Senate. [Max A. Cherney, MarketWatch]


October 15: The number of reported vaping-linked lung illnesses has risen to nearly 1,500 across the country. The tally includes 33 deaths in 24 states. Earlier this month, a 17-year-old boy died in New York City, the youngest person known to have died of the illness. As of October 17, Vermont health officials have confirmed three cases. [U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention]


October 16: It’s been one year since Canada legalized weed, a source of pride — and frustration — for our neighbor to the north. Legal sales totaled about $1 billion in the 12 months since. But the illicit market persists; buyers spent an estimated $5 billion to $7 billion on black market weed the same year. [Gene Johnson, Elaine Thompson and Rob Gillies, Associated Press]


October 16: The largest marijuana grower in Colorado lost millions of dollars in weed after a snowstorm earlier this month killed half of the farm’s outdoor-grown plants. The crop loss “is expected to send ripples throughout the state’s cannabis supply chain.” [Bart Schaneman, Marijuana Business Daily]
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