Devon Deyhle, a small-scale cannabis grower from Peachham, Vermont, learned a costly lesson after promoting his business, Tall Truck, through a social media video. As the owner of a Tier 1 indoor growing operation with less than 1,000 square feet of cannabis plants, Deyhle aimed to expand his brand and explore potential markets. However, his promotional strategy ended up costing him dearly in fines and legal trouble.
The now-removed Instagram video showcased Deyhle visiting a Manhattan storefront, which was not licensed for adult recreational retail cannabis sales. At the time of the video, New York had not yet licensed any establishments for recreational sales. In the video, Deyhle hands over a box of his Tall Truck cannabis products to the women behind the counter, a move he later admitted was a publicity stunt aimed at opening up the New York City market for his brand.
Unfortunately for Deyhle, someone reported the video to the Vermont Cannabis Control Board. As a result, the board issued a Notice of Violation, citing video evidence of Deyhle delivering cannabis to an illicit business in New York City. Consequently, Deyhle was fined $20,000 for transporting cannabis outside of Vermont.
“It’s a killer for someone like me,” Deyhle lamented.
In addition to the hefty fine, the Vermont Cannabis Control Board initially suspended Deyhle’s license for 60 days. They also issued two additional fines – $10,000 for making a false statement to the board and another $10,000 for diverting Vermont cannabis to the illicit New York market. However, these additional punishments were suspended, provided Deyhle adheres to Vermont’s cannabis regulations for the next two years.
Reflecting on the experience, Deyhle expressed his understanding of the consequences. “You make your bed, you sleep in it,” he said. “You pay for your mistakes.”
Deyhle’s story serves as a cautionary tale for other small cannabis growers and entrepreneurs in the industry. While it’s essential to promote one’s business and explore new markets, it’s equally important to do so responsibly and within the boundaries of the law. Otherwise, the price to pay might just be too high. (Source)
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