X-Tract Rises in Vermont’s New Cannabis Market

In Vermont, the new legal recreational cannabis is a “craft industry,” said Trevor Schell, chief executive of X-Tract, which specializes in cannabis oil extraction. The business ecosystem there is mostly made up of small farms and start-ups that “don’t have the resources” to drive up and down the state and sell their wares to pharmacies, he said.

That’s why his company, which takes in dried cannabis and works with brands to produce pre-rolls and edibles, has built relationships with retailers. “We let pharmacies know what we have, they order it and we have a van that we drive across the state,” he said.

Seventy cities in Vermont will allow retail sales, which is a greater number than many expected. People knew the college towns and larger cities would allow retail sales, said Catherine Burke, an attorney who works with cannabis companies in Vermont, but the neighboring state of New Hampshire has not yet legalized the substance, and smaller Vermont towns are opting “for business and tourism,” she said.

X-Tract has invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in extraction equipment and plans to use all of them soon. Schell currently produces pre-rolls (marijuana cigarettes also known as “joints”) and cannabis-infused caramels, gummies, peanut butter cups and bonbons.

To produce edibles, after extracting the cannabis oils from the plant, a sample of the output goes to a lab for testing to make sure it contains no impurities and is safe for human consumption. Getting results can currently take up to two weeks and only then production can begin, Schell said.

Vermont law states that cannabis concentrates cannot be more potent than 60% THC.

As procedures like testing become smoother and more streamlined, Schell’s priority will be to keep a steady stream of products rolling into pharmacies to meet new demand in Vermont. “They want a consistent supply,” Schell said of the pharmacies, “their big fear is that the product will run out.”