Study Could Increase Support for Rec MJ in Vermont

The chances of recreational marijuana legalization in Vermont could get a boost from a new study that shows the state would be rolling in the greenbacks if it approves such a measure.

The study, conducted by the RAND Corporation, was commissioned by Vermont to give officials a better idea of the potential impact of legalization. A state senator has said he will propose a bill this year to legalize recreational cannabis.

The RAND report estimates that recreational marijuana would pump $20 million to $75 million annually into the state’s coffers if the industry is “taxed aggressively.” That projection assumes that overall consumption of cannabis would rise by 25%-100%.

But there’s a caveat: Vermont needs to act before other New England states legalize cannabis in order to maximize its financial benefit.

“Vermont also could end up supplying large numbers of out-of-state users, directly via marijuana tourism or indirectly — unless and until other states in the Northeast also legalized marijuana,” the report reads.

The study also pointed out several other key statistics: It estimated that state residents consume 15 to 25 metric tons of cannabis annually and spent between $125 million and $225 million on cannabis in 2014 alone. The report also says the number of regular marijuana users living within 200 miles of Vermont’s borders is 40 times the customer base living in Vermont.