Vermonters illegally consume between 33,000 and 55,000 pounds of marijuana annually, according to a study released Friday by the RAND Drug Policy Research Center.

Of Marijuana Consumed Annually


Vermont already made important changes to its marijuana laws by passing a bill to allow medical-marijuana dispensaries in 2011 and decriminalizing possession of up to 1 oz. of marijuana for personal use in 2013.

Job creation

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. These choices could have profound consequences for the outcomes of legalization in terms of health and social well-being, as well as for job creation and government revenue.

Tax Revenue

If Vermont legalized marijuana in a way that eliminated the black market and no other nearby state followed suit, then Vermont might, in theory, be able to generate $20 million to $75 million in tax revenues annually on sales to Vermont residents.


So if Vermont legalized before any other states in the Northeast, marijuana tourism and illicit exports could be substantial and could, in theory, put Vermont’s annual tax revenues in the hundreds of millions.

In Addition

It is not clear, though, whether such regulatory constraints are viable in the long run for a single state, as opposed to a nation. If one state bans extract-based products but its neighbor allows them, then availability might be nearly as high as if the first state had allowed the extract-based products.10 Because Vermont could be the first state in the Northeast to go down this path, competition from neighboring legal markets might not be an issue initially, but product-category bans would leave a market niche for strictly illicit activity.

Benefit Corps

Another supply option serves as a hybrid between the nonprofit and commercial options: Permit only for-benefit companies to sell. This structure would limit participation in the marijuana industry to companies that are concerned with improving environmental and social conditions in addition to making a profit. Although most companies have a fiduciary responsibility only to maximize profits for shareholders, for-benefit companies incorporate social goals into their governing documents.


Gallup has asked the same question about marijuana legalization since 1969:

“Do you think the use of marijuana should be legal or not?” 2013, 58 percent answered positively.

Swift (2013) provided data. Note that the question does not ask about legalizing supply, let alone commercial supply by companies. It asks only about use.

Bill Status H.277

An act relating to regulation and taxation of marijuana

Bill Status S.95

An act relating to regulation and taxation of marijuana

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