The Champlain Valley Dispensary is a nonprofit organization applying traditional Vermont artisan skills to the new medical marijuana industry.
With the passage of the Vermont Marijuana for Symptom Relief Act in June 2011, Champlain Valley Dispensary was awarded the first license in 2012 to open a dispensary in Burlington. A year later, we applied for and were awarded a second license to operate our sister organization, Southern Vermont Wellness, in Brattleboro.
The industry continues to face many hurdles, the largest being that cannabis remains illegal under federal statute. This limitation has become our strength. We created an organization built on local support, the Vermont way. Startup capital was raised with friends and family. We forged relationships with Vermont credit unions for our banking needs. Responding to a prohibition on medical insurance coverage for patients, we developed a compassionate sliding-scale program.
Champlain Valley Dispensary has embraced our challenges as opportunities to build a team of highly trained, professional staff members who guide and innovate throughout our operations. Our goal is to be a national model for best practices in our field.
The Champlain Valley Dispensary has seen rapid growth, from a handful of patients in June 2013 to several thousand today. We feel this is just the beginning.
Our staff is specially trained to advise people who are ill. Knowing that we are helping patients, often at the later stages of their life, has a profound effect. We quickly see how we add value to people’s lives.
It’s important for our whole community to know that the products we provide are helping patients lead a more active life and have a better daily existence. Contrary to the stereotype of using cannabis to escape, patients see this as a way to function — to have the energy to be present with their families and not be overwhelmed by prescription painkillers or the nausea of chemotherapy.
We’ve never had a patient say, “That didn’t do anything for me.” Instead, we constantly hear, “I’ve been able to gain back 10 pounds,” or “I’m weaning myself off pharmaceuticals and my doctor is really excited.” That’s why we do what we do.