BURLINGTON, Vt. — At least 25 communities have approved Town Meeting Day measures allowing retail marijuana sales within their borders as Vermont’s first retail businesses are expected to open in the fall.

About 40 cities and towns were expected to vote on these local articles on Tuesday.

Among those that granted approval were the larger communities of Barre, Essex, Manchester and Rutland as well as smaller towns such as Bolton, Grand Isle, Milton, Springfield and Waitsfield, WCAX-TV reported.

A further tally by the The Associated Press found that at least 25 communities had approved retail marijuana sales while at least five rejected the proposals. Vernon, Eden, New Haven, Richford and Castleton voted against the measures.

The Vermont Legislature legalized the sale of recreational marijuana starting this year but cities and towns have to vote whether to allow sales in their communities. If communities approve it, businesses can start applying for a state license on April 1. A state board will review the license requests.

More than the 33 Vermont municipalities already had approved retail marijuana operations before Town Meeting Day, according to the Vermont League of Cities and Towns.

In New England, the first marijuana stores opened in Massachusetts in November 2018, followed by Maine in October of 2020.

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