On Town Meeting Day this March, residents will have the chance to vote on whether or not to allow the retail sale of cannabis in Milton.

At the Selectboard’s most recent meeting Sept. 20, the board approved leaving it up to the residents of Milton to decide whether or not they want to have retail cannabis sold in the community.

In October 2020, the state legislature’s recreational marijuana measure became law, but it required towns and cities to approve recreational licensees doing business within their boundaries.

This past March, voters in Burlington, Winooski, Montpelier and at least 16 other Vermont municipalities voted to opt in and approve recreational sales.

The Selectboard decided not to put the question on the ballot at that time because the town had a ballot full of items already, town manager Don Turner said.

Under the law, cannabis businesses and marijuana shops could open up as soon as October 2022 while existing medical dispensaries could get licenses to offer retail sales to the public in May 2022.

The Milton Selectboard agreed at Monday’s meeting that the decision should be left to the voters.

“I think it’s only fair to give our community members the opportunity to vote,” said Selectboard member Brenda Steady.

Marijuana will be taxed at a 20% rate with a 14% excise tax and a 6% sales tax. Marijuana sales could bring in around $20 million in annual state revenue after three years, according to an estimate from Vermont’s Joint Fiscal Office in August 2020.

Hopeful retailers are already lining up and preparing, getting their businesses ready to go for when applications open in Sept. 2022, according to a July VTDigger article.

Vermont’s new Cannabis Control Board will be responsible for determining who gets licenses out of the applications as well as coming up with industry regulations including advertising rules, according to a memo provided to the Selectboard by Cymone Haiju, Milton’s planning and development review director.

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