Chester cannabis board gets organized

By Shawn Cunninham
© 2022 Telegraph Publishing LLC

Last night, Chester’s Local Cannabis Control Commission met for the first time, with Town Manager Julie Hance in the chair until the group could elect its inaugural chairperson and begin looking at its “purpose and goals.”

Arianna Knapp was elected to chair the commission.

Arianna Knapp was elected to chair the commission. Photos by Shawn Cunningham

Lee Gustafson, who is one of two select board members serving on the commission, nominated Arianna Knapp to serve as chair and Reisa Alexander as vice chair. Both nominations passed unanimously and Tom Diak took up the role of secretary, which Hance said was about board communications not minute-taking.

Noting that the seven-member commission only has six members due to the resignation of Robert Nied, Knapp asked whether the group needed to be five or seven members considering how little they would be called upon to do. Gustafson said that the number of members is up to the Select Board, which will appoint a seventh at its June 15 meeting. The other two members are Ben Whalen, who was absent, and Barre Pinske, who attended on Zoom.

The commission went on to discuss when they could expect applications for retail licenses and how that would inform how often they should meet. Knapp said that retail licenses would be the commission’s primary role although she expected to see other applications (growing, processing, etc.) as a courtesy. She noted that the non-retail licenses are just beginning to be granted and the commission may not see applications for retail before August or September.

Reisa Alexander was elected vice chair and suggested using the state's application rather than creating a town form

Reisa Alexander was elected vice chair and suggested using the state’s retail application rather than creating a town form.

Alexander asked that the town use the state’s application rather than crafting one of its own. Knapp agreed that it would simplify the process and that she had requested a copy but had not received it yet. Alexander said that it was not yet available.

That said, Knapp suggested the commission may want to wait to see the state application form before linking the town to it.

There was also discussion of how the 500 foot exclusion zone from schools would work and that became one of a list of items to research before the next meeting. Knapp said she felt she needed to do a deep dive on Chester zoning laws to understand where the commission stands from that prospective.

Hance filled the new commissioners in on the basics of Vermont’s Open Meeting Law and how to avoid problems.

“It’s going to be an interesting year,” said Knapp.


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