Burlington-based nonprofit organization circulating political cannabis policy survey and recruiting board members that will focus on passing updated S.54 legislation in 2020
Vermont Business Magazine The Vermont Growers Association is a registered 501(c)(4) nonprofit organization formed in 2019 as a political action committee and trade association. Founded by Geoffrey Pizzutillo and Jennifer Dye, and joined by cannabis advocate and lobbyist Eli Harrington, the Vermont Growers Association has created a policy platform survey and is actively recruiting board members as it kicks off grassroots lobbying efforts.
The founders say that the association is focused on state-level adult-use cannabis with THC, not hemp, and seeks to make certain Vermont’s cannabis regulations – including S.54 – prioritize family farms and small businesses, especially during the initial development process of the state’s cannabis marketplace, to ensure a viable, triple-bottom-line, craft-centric industry with fair and accessible pathways for all Vermonters.
“The policies that we roll out in Vermont need to match the narrative of how we want our cannabis industry to look and feel. To achieve the same standard of quality – and economic impact – of regulated cannabis in Vermont as we have for our award-winning alcohol and food products, we need to make sure there’s a level playing field and that small producers can be efficiently licensed at reasonable costs, and replace the illicit market with a Vermont craft market as soon as possible,” says Eli Harrington.
Geoffrey Pizzutillo and Jennifer Dye are long-time cannabis growers and advocates, having participated in Vermont’s medical cannabis program since its initial operation. “Speaking with our colleagues, neighbors and friends, many Vermonters have become disillusioned with the progress and direction of cannabis legislation in our state,” Geoffrey says. “There’s a lot of cannabis talent in this state. We want to represent and advocate for people who have been, are presently, or want to be, in the legal Vermont cannabis community. As an organization we will listen to the people in our state, build a coalition around their interests and add their perspective to the discussion in Montpellier.”
As a political action committee, Vermont Growers Association will rollout a member-based contribution program to accept limited donations from individuals and organizations, the funds from which will be used to engage in formal lobbying, create educational marketing campaigns, directly support candidates and confront oppositional political forces in the 2020 election.
For their launch and initial outreach, the organization has created a brief policy platform survey that will be used to collect feedback from interested stakeholders, recruit board members, and inform the priorities of the lobbying agenda.
Source: [BURLINGTON, VERMONT, September 2019] - The Vermont Growers Association www.vermontgrowers.org