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RAND Study: Vermont, And Other States, Have Various Options On How To Legalize Marijuana

Friday, 23 January 2015

RAND Study: Vermont, And Other States, Have Various Options On How To Legalize Marijuana

Montpelier, VT: The RAND Corporation has produced a 218-page report at the request of the Vermont legislature and Governor Peter Shumlin (D) to review the options that Vermont, and other jurisdictions, have to create legalization policies for marijuana.

A group of well-established cannabis policy experts from numerous universities were tasked with six basic research questions:

  1. What are the decisions confronting jurisdictions that are considering alternatives to traditional marijuana prohibition?
  2. How much marijuana is consumed in Vermont?
  3. How much does Vermont spend enforcing marijuana prohibition?
  4. What does the current scientific literature find about the consequences associated with marijuana consumption?
  5. How much money could the State of Vermont earn from legalizing marijuana?
  6. How much does it cost to regulate legal marijuana?

The two general recommendations were that 'cannabis policy should not be viewed as a binary choice between prohibition and the for-profit commercial model we see in Colorado and Washington'; and 'Legalization encompasses a wide range of possible regimes, distinguished along at least four dimensions: the kinds of organizations that are allowed to provide the drug, the regulations under which those organizations operate, the nature of the products that can be distributed, and price'.

RAND researchers opine that Vermonters in 2014 likely consumed between 15-25 metric tons of marijuana and spent between $125 - $225 million on sales. If aggressively taxed, the researchers write that between $20-$75 million dollars annually in taxes and fees are possible in Vermont post legalization.

For more information, please contact Allen St. Pierre, NORML Executive Director or Erik Altieri, NORML Communications Director at 202-483-5500. To download and read the new RAND report on marijuana legalization options for Vermont and other states, go to: http://www.rand.org/content/dam/rand/pubs/research_reports/RR800/RR864/RAND_RR864.pdf