Chronicling the changing cannabis industry in Vermont

Vermont News & Media adds a still-green brand to its news roster


Vermont News & Media has a long history of delivering local news to southern Vermont. The Bennington, Vermont-based company publishes three newspapers — the Bennington Banner, the Manchester Journal and Brattleboro Reformer — and a lifestyle magazine, Vermont Country. Last summer, the award-winning publisher also launched Green Mountain Vermont Cannabis News, a website and newsletter to inform the public about the state’s evolving cannabis laws and burgeoning economy. E&P spoke with President and Publisher Jordan Brechenser and Advertising and Marketing Specialist Ahmad Yassir about the new brand.

“We wanted this publication to be mission-oriented and really elevate the cannabis scene in the state,” Yassir said.

Vermont’s cannabis industry differs from other states with legal recreational cannabis.    

“Massachusetts was set up for pure capitalism,” Brechenser explained. “You can buy five different licenses and operate five different retail locations there. In Vermont, you can only have one, so they’re trying to keep out multi-site, multi-state operations — to keep them from becoming the Walmarts of cannabis here.”

Green Mountain Vermont Cannabis News will celebrate its first anniversary in July 2024. It launched last year with three flagship sponsors, and in the months since, they've expanded marketing and sponsorship opportunities — within compliance with state and federal laws pertaining to cannabis advertising.

“If you travel here, you’ll notice that Vermont is one of a very few states that doesn’t allow billboards because we care about the quality of life here and don't want billboards to block the beautiful views of the mountains,” Brechenser added. “They care about the quality of cannabis here, too. They don’t want to allow these multi-state operations to come in and flood the market and push all the mom-and-pop shops out. That’s what’s unique here, and I think Green Mountain Cannabis News needs to remain unique, as well.”

The launch had the benefit of a legacy news brand behind it, which dates back more than a century. It enabled them to promote it to a loyal audience and started with a subscriber base of roughly 15,000. On average, they've added 35 to 50 new subscribers each week.

After becoming the first news organization in the state certified by the Cannabis Control Board to carry advertising, they created a sponsorship-friendly environment for cannabis businesses that are federally prohibited from advertising on platforms like Google and social media sites and outside of the state.

Jordan Brechenser, president and publisher, Vermont News & Media

They’ve priced sponsorships to be affordable to new businesses. “When you become a sponsor, we try to identify your needs, goals and how you can become part of Green Mountain News,” Brechenser said. Not everyone is eligible. They’ve turned interested parties away if they have out-of-state backing or are part of a multi-state operation.

“Part of our goal is to stay true to the craft aspect of cannabis and local growers,” Brechenser said.

The newsroom team reports on news from the cannabis board, The Cannabis Retailer Association of Vermont and the Vermont Growers Association. They’ve reported on tax revenues, business licensing and the cannabis job market.

“It’s a new industry that needs to be covered and (has) a lot of new business owners who didn’t really have the experience of dealing with the media or even experience being business owners,” Yassir said.

With a website and email newsletter, Green Mountain Vermont Cannabis News informs subscribers — who must be 21 years or older — about evolving cannabis legislation, state tax revenues, cannabis association news, the cannabis job market, and the cannabis community and craft culture.

The team publishes at least three weekly news stories and at least seven social media posts. Reader submissions are welcome, subject to a vetting process. Readers have written firsthand accounts about navigating cannabis retailers and growing cannabis at home. 

“We didn’t want it to be a stereotype — just another newspaper’s newsletter,” Yassir explained. “It’s super curated every week. We also include audience engagement questions toward the end of the newsletter, based on the theme of the editorial content. … That’s been a really great way to keep people engaged with the newsletter — to get them to read the whole newsletter and scroll to the end.”

Gretchen A. Peck is a contributing editor to Editor & Publisher. She's reported for E&P since 2010 and welcomes comments at


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