Recent Policy Updates

Please visit our COVID-19 Resources for more Policy Updates »


S.54 Passed. Now What? 

Supporters of the coalition for an equitable and just cannabis marketplace,

Thank you for standing by us in our advocacy! Though we were unsuccessful in including impactful language to ensure true racial and economic equity in S.54, our concerns have been acknowledged by many policymakers, as well as the Governor in his signing statement.  We are ready to continue organizing and advocating over the coming months to achieve greater equity and justice in the tax and regulate structure and process being implemented in VT. We know we have your support, and hope that the support promised by our State leaders and policymakers for our concerns and proposals greet us at the Statehouse come January.

Where do we go from here? What do you need to know? Well, first you should know that S.54 is now Act 164!  You can click here for more information about Act 164 and the timeline for its rollout.

It is also important to understand that the implementation of Act 164 will now be largely dependent upon the Cannabis Control Board (CCB), an appointed 3 member Board with substantial authority over the rulemaking process. As the governor indicated, the timelines for the appointment process (including that of the Nominating Committee of the CCB) do not provide us a fair opportunity to effectively include you and enable everyone to fairly participate in the process.  That's why we sent this letter to the governor and legislators asking for a delay in the appointment of the Cannabis Control Board Nominating Committee.

Here is how you can help:

  • Contact Governor Scott here or call him at 828-3333 and ask him slow the CCB appointment process to enable our participation.
  • ​Contact legislators and ask them to slow the appointment process to enable our participation:

Let us know if you want to testify to the legislature or CCB, if you have a story you’d like us to share with these entities on your behalf, if you’d like to be a candidate for the Nominating Committee or Cannabis Control Board, or if you’d like to help in other ways!

Sign up HERE!


ORGANIC AGRICULTURE IS A CRITICAL PART OF THE SOLUTION TO CLIMATE CHANGE

The global climate crisis requires us to develop and carry out bold, effective, multisector solutions. With the potential to mitigate the impacts of climate change, reduce agricultural greenhouse gas emissions, and support more ecologically and economically resilient communities, organic agriculture must be included as a cornerstone of our response to the climate crisis.

Organic Agriculture is a critical part of the solution to climate change

ORGANIC FARMING PRACTICES CAN MITIGATE CLIMATE CHANGE

By using techniques to build healthy, biologically active soils, organic agriculture has the potential to increase global soil carbon sequestration, mitigating the impacts of climate change.

Organic regulations (§205.203) require crop nutrient management practices that maintain and improve soil. These include crop rotations, cover cropping, and the application of plant and animal manures. Research has shown that if these standard practices were implemented globally, soil organic carbon pools would increase by an estimated 2 billion tons per year – the equivalent of 12% of the total annual GHG emissions worldwide.1

Organic regulations also prohibit the use of synthetic nitrogen fertilizers, which contribute to nitrous oxide emissions from soils. These emissions comprise 50.4% of all domestic agricultural emissions and have 310 times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide.1 Accelerated adoption of organic practices would eliminate a significant source of nitrous oxide emissions globally.

ORGANIC AGRICULTURE IMPROVES ECOLOGICAL RESILIENCE

Organic farmers use techniques like cover cropping, crop rotations, and plant and animal manures to build soil fertility and boost soil organic matter. Soils with a 1% increase in soil organic matter have been shown to have an increased water holding capacity of 20,000 gallons per acre. This increased water holding capacity improves resilience to flooding and drought, both of which Vermont is projected to experience more frequently as a result of climate change.

While conventional no-till systems build up soil organic carbon levels at rates comparable to organic production systems, providing similar benefits in terms of soil structure, carbon sequestration, and water retention, organic agriculture does not use herbicides or synthetic pesticides.2 As each of these can compromise soil biology,1 organic agriculture provides the same benefits as conventional no-till agriculture with fewer ecological harms.

ORGANIC AGRICULTURE increases the number of skilled farmers on the land

Rather than relying on costly chemical inputs, organic agriculture relies on the management, experience, and wisdom of farmers in partnership with biological processes. Organic farms also tend to be smaller and more intensively managed. By multiplying organic acreage, we diversify our production systems and multiply the number of skilled farmers on the land, making for a more resilient agricultural landscape and viable employment for more Vermonters.

Adding hundreds of organic farmers to Vermont’s working landscape means adding hundreds of knowledgeable individuals who are used to thinking carefully about the interface between farming and biology, expert in solving agronomic problems without purchased inputs, and are open to experimenting with new techniques.3

ORGANIC FARMING SUPPORTS COMMUNITY RESILIENCE AND BOOSTS RURAL ECONOMIES

Research has shown that counties in the United States with high levels of organic agricultural activity (“organic hotspots”) have higher household incomes and reduced poverty levels. One 2016 study by Penn State found that organic agriculture boosts economic development and reduces poverty at greater rates than general agricultural activity, and even more than major anti-poverty programs.4 In the study, counties that were organic hotspots had poverty rates drop on average by 1.3 percentage points and median income rise by over $2,000. 5 This demonstrates the potential for organic agriculture to support rural economies by improving livelihoods and increasing economic resilience.


Sources:

  1. National Organic Coalition. (2017) Important Role of Organic Agriculture in Addressing Climate Change.
  2. Bryant, L. (2015) Organic Matter Can Improve Your Soil's Water Holding Capacity. NRDC. https://www.nrdc.org/experts/lara-bryant/organic-matter-can-improve-your....
  3. National Farmers Union. (2019) Tackling the Farm Crisis and the Climate Crisis: A Transformative Strategy for Canadian Farms and Food Systems. nfu.ca/publications/tackling-the-farm-crisis-and-the-climate-crisis.
  4. Organic Trade Association. (2016). U.S. Organic Hotspots and Their Benefit to Local Economies. ota.com/sites/default/files/Organic%20Hotspots.pdf.
  5. Jaenicke, E. C. (2016) U.S. Organic Hotspots and their Benefit to Local Economies: Hotspot Identification, Formation, Impacts, and Policy Recommendations. ota.com/sites/default/files/indexed_files/OTA-HotSpotsWhitePaper-OnlineVersion.pdf.