Courts & Corrections

State could earn $20-$75 million from legal pot, report says

Beau Kilmer, co-director of the RAND Drug Policy Research Center, presents the group's study Friday, Jan. 16, 2015, at the Statehouse in Montpelier. Photo by Tom Brown/VTDigger
Beau Kilmer, co-director of the Rand Drug Policy Research Center, presents the group’s study Friday, Jan. 16, 2015, at the Statehouse in Montpelier. Photo by Tom Brown/VTDigger

This story was updated at 5:58 p.m.

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

Legalizing, taxing and regulating that volume could generate $20 million to $75 million a year, the report said. Factor in marijuana tourism, and the revenue estimate soars into the hundreds of millions.

Creative Commons photo
Creative Commons photo

The 218-page report prepared for lawmakers offered no recommendations but provided a detailed analysis of the available data on legalization. The report looked at public health effects, regulatory structure, revenue potential and other impacts of legalizing the use of recreational marijuana.

While it suggested no specific path to legalization, it did offer a series of alternatives to the retail model that is in effect in Colorado and Washington state.

According to the report, lawmakers could:
• Allow adults to grow their own.
• Allow distribution only within small co-ops or buyers’ clubs.
• Permit locally controlled retail sales (the Dutch coffee-shop model).
• Have the government operate the supply chain (government monopoly).
• Have a public authority operate the supply chain.
• Permit only nonprofit organizations to sell.
• Permit only for-benefit companies to sell.
• Have very few closely monitored for-profit licensees.

Beau Kilmer, co-director of the research center, cautioned lawmakers that any direction they choose could be undone by federal authorities. The Obama administration has instructed the Justice Department not to interfere in state efforts to legalize cannabis, but that could change.

“No one knows who will be president in 2017, let alone what his or her position will ultimately be with respect to marijuana legalization,” Kilmer said.

The study estimates that there are about 80,000 marijuana users in Vermont, who spend from $125 million to $225 million a year on the drug.

Sen. David Zuckerman, P/D-Chittenden, said Friday he hopes to introduce a bill to legalize the drug next week or the week after.

“Those numbers show that current efforts are failing,” Zuckerman said Friday.

He said his bill would likely reflect some of the information provided in the study.

Keith Flynn, commissioner of the Department of Public Safety. Photo by Anne Galloway
Keith Flynn, commissioner of the Department of Public Safety. VTDigger file photo

Keith Flynn, commissioner of the Department of Public Safety, said the administration is taking a “wait and see” attitude on legalization and urged lawmakers to “go slow.”

“This report opens the dialogue,” Flynn said. “There are a lot of areas for inquiry. We have the opportunity to get this right, to learn the lessons (of other states).”

Flynn’s boss, Gov. Peter Shumlin, has said he generally supports legalization but wants to see how it plays out in Colorado and other trailblazing states.

“This Rand report will serve as a critical foundation for our ongoing discussion about the best course for Vermont,” Shumlin said in a statement. “I continue to support moves to legalize marijuana in Vermont but have always said that we have to proceed with rigorous research and preparation before deciding whether to act. This report will help us do that.”

House Speaker Shap Smith said any bill on legalization will be tested first by the House Ways & Means, Judiciary and Health Care and Human Services committees.

“In looking at the discussion surrounding the legalization of marijuana, it is clear to me that Vermonters have a diverse range of opinions, views and beliefs on whether or not legalization is the best step forward for our state,” Smith said in a statement. “While I am intrigued by some of the findings described in the Rand report, there are still many unanswered questions the Legislature must answer.”

Matt Simon, of the pro-legalization Marijuana Policy Project, said the study contained a lot of “complexity,” but that some of the proposed alternatives, such as state-controlled distribution and small co-ops were “nonstarters.”

Mary Alice McKenzie, director of the Burlington Boys and Girls Club and a member of the anti-legalization group SAM-VT, said she opposes the law because of her concerns with substance abuse among youths.

“Vermont does not do a good job of addiction prevention – for alcohol, tobacco, opiates or marijuana,” she said. “Vermont has not focused on prevention.”

The study said 60 percent of marijuana users nationwide have a high school education or less, which is the population most served by substance abuse counselors, she said.

The study said science is inconclusive on claims that legalized pot could reduce alcohol use, but did state that the public health harms of marijuana use are smaller than the use of alcohol and other drugs.

A bill that would require that edible marijuana be packaged in single-dose, child-resistant packaging has already been filed by Sens. Dick Sears, D-Bennington, and Jeanette White, D-Windham.

Lawmakers authorized the study last year as part of S.247, a bill that made changes in Vermont’s medicinal marijuana law. The state paid $20,000 toward the report, which was also underwritten by Good Ventures, a nonprofit that makes grants for consultation.



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Tom Brown

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  • Glenn Thompson

    Good God! From the article!

    “Legalizing, taxing and regulating that volume could generate $20 million to $75 million a year, the report said. Factor in marijuana tourism, and the revenue estimate soars into the hundreds of millions.”

    To generate those kind of revenue numbers…one must assume people are spending their money (or someone else’s money) on pot as opposed to spending it on food and other important living essentials? How would this bill discourage “irresponsible behavior”?

    Perhaps people should look how legalizing marijuana in Colorado has lead to many negative consequences! These two articles are good examples! Do we really want Vermont to go down this road?

    http://dailysignal.com/2014/08/20/7-harmful-side-effects-pot-legalization-caused-colorado/

    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/01/us/after-5-months-of-sales-colorado-sees-the-downside-of-a-legal-high.html?_r=0

    I can understand why Sen. Zuckerman would push for legalizing marijuana. Since he is an Organic Farmer, he would financially gain in a big way by plowing up his tomatoes, lettuce, carrots, etc and instead turn his entire farm into growing organic marijuana! What a concept!

    If Sen Zuckerman follows through on his threat to introduce a bill to legalize marijuana…I would strongly suggest as soon as the bill is printed it be filed in ‘File 13’ and never be revisited again!

    • Mike Ferzoco

      Glenn Thompson-Declaring pot illegal does not make it go away- even from children. You cannot childproof the world. Why single out pot? The real issue is compulsive behavior. Be American. Let grown ups do what they want in the privacy of their homes. You know- no “BIG GOVERNMENT”!

    • Jim Barrett

      These figures provided by the elite at the state level would only be reliable (if then) if no other state in this area approved of pot sale. Does anyone believe Vermont would be allowed to make such huge sums without competition?

  • Pete Novick

    Wow! What a terrific idea!

    After marijuana becomes legal, I am going into the pizza business.

    Cheers

    • Rodney Harris

      The report actually talked about this in the summary for Chapter 5!

      “For example, stores cloud use marijuana as a loss leader to bring customers in to buy other products, or even give it free to people who buy something else (e.g., restaurants giving customers marijuana to increase food sales the way that bars give away salted peanuts to increase alcohol sales).”

      I should put this statement into context. They are not recommending this. The report mentions this as a weakness of an ad valorum tax that would tax based on sales value.

  • Rick Cowan

    Most of the stories I’ve read about Colorado and Washington’s legalization tell a very different story than those cited by Glenn Thompson. Here’s the Washington Post on the topic: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2014/10/17/how-marijuana-legalization-in-colorado-and-washington-is-making-the-world-a-better-place/

    With even conservative Alaska voting to end the non-sensical ban, I’m amazed that VT’s supposedly progressive politicians still dither and temporize.

    Heaven knows, we need the tax revenue and jobs that legalization would bring!

    • “Heaven knows, we need the tax revenue and jobs that legalization would bring!”

      The same argument can be said for Casinos. Are you pro Casino’s in Vermont?

      • Steven Farnham

        Casinos can’t be purchased in little baggies and “used” in the privacy of your home. The casino question is entirely different.

        At least with casinos, if we prohibit them, the user has to leave the state for his “fix,” which presents a pretty effective preventative strategy for most would-be users.

  • Amanda Higgenbotham

    I’m sure a ‘Marijuana is a Human Right’ coalition can’t be far behind.

  • Sean Joyce

    While I don’t think a 25 million dollar industry is one that the state should turn a blind eye to, I believe the real potential for Vermont is to become the leader in hemp fuel pellets. Our farmers could be growing quality fibre and seed before the rest of the country wakes up to what a farce the prohibition has been.

    • Bill Olenick

      Spot on Sean.
      Before the 1940’s industrial hemp was grown across the country but was outlawed after public outcry over media clips such as “Reefer Madness”.
      Industrial hemp can be a big cash crop in the state and throw off industries making textiles,bio fuel,rope,hammocks and various other useful things would also generate tax base and local sustainable livelihoods for families.
      The year is 2015 and we are modern mankind so lets stop thinking and acting like we still lived in the last century and move forward into the future with common sense.
      There will also be huge savings to local law enforcement,the court system and the prisons.

  • Jim Christiansen

    GMO pot. Monsanto must be licking its chops.

  • Joyce Wilson

    Will Vermont have to allocate some of the taxes raised on legalized marijuana to more services for the homeless if it brings an influx of them into the state?

    “Legal marijuana drawing homeless to Colorado…Easterling is among a growing number of homeless people who have recently come to Colorado seeking its legal marijuana, and who now remain in the state and occupy beds in shelters, according to service providers.

    While no state agency records how many homeless people were drawn by legal weed, officials at homeless centers say the influx they are seeing is straining their ability to meet the needs of the increasing population.

    “The older ones are coming for medical (marijuana), the younger ones are coming just because it’s legal,” said Brett Van Sickle, director of Denver’s Salvation Army Crossroads Shelter, which has more than doubled its staff to accommodate the increase.

    The shelter did an informal survey of the roughly 500 new out-of-towners who stayed there between July and September and found as many as 30 percent had relocated for pot, he said….”

    http://www.cbsnews.com/news/legal-marijuana-drawing-homeless-to-colorado/

    • Rodney Harris

      There is no solid data linking this. The CBS News story was an informal survey of a single homeless shelter. Other shelters have seen no influx.

  • sandra bettis

    Let’s do it! It looks like there is no time to waste!

  • Pete Novick

    Text quoted from the article:

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

    Whoa!

    Population of Vermont: 630,000

    Vermont annual marijuana consumption (lbs.): 33,000

    Per capita annual consumption (lbs.): 19

    Per capita annual consumption (oz.): 304

    Approximate number of joints per ounce: 25

    Per capita annual consumption (joints): 7600

    Per capita daily consumption (joints): 21

    I sure hope Vermont didn’t pay too much for this study! The RAND Corporation should stick to game theory and nuclear weapons.

    Cheers

    • Rodney Harris

      FTFY

      Population of Vermont: 630,000

      Vermont annual marijuana consumption (lbs.): 33,000

      Per capita annual consumption (lbs.): 0.52

      Per capita annual consumption (oz.): 8.3

      Approximate number of joints per ounce: 25

      Per capita annual consumption (joints): 209

      Per capita daily consumption (joints): 0.57

      You had calculated people per pound rather than pound per person.

      • Doug Hoffer

        Actually, you missed a decimal point. It’s 0.05 lbs and .83 oz. per capita. That’s less than one ounce per person per year.

        But the more appropriate measure would be consumption per person for adults only.

        • Mark Moore

          Pete and Rodney don’t make a strong case for legalization, if you catch my drift.

          • Rodney Harris

            That comment wasn’t meant to be a case for legalization. It was meant to correct misinformation.

    • Tom Brown

      Here’s how I would do the math:

      33000 lbs/yr x 16 oz/lb = 528000 oz./yr
      528000 oz x 28g/oz = 14,784,000 g/yr.
      14,784,000 g/yr. div. 80,000 users = 184.8 g/user/yr
      184.8 g/user/yr div. 365 days = 0.5 g/per day/per user

      Seems about right, yes?

  • ray giroux

    So, at the high number for MJ consumed in Vt. – 55,ooo lbs. – and the number of people who use MJ at 80, 000 that would equal, when breaking the lbs. down to ounces, a bit over 100 ounces of MJ per user per year. With the street price of MJ at roughly $300 per ounce = $30,000 per year. Or, nearly an ounce a day, roughly. Impossible!

    This should give folks an idea of how well our money was spent on Rand Corp.

    • Rodney Harris

      I think you math is a little off. 55,000 pounds divided by 80,000 users comes out to about 0.69 pounds per user annually. That would be about 11 ounces. At $300 per ounce, that would be $3,300.

  • Peter Everett

    We can argue all we want, but, face reality, the people in the State House are only concerned how much they can spend.
    Where they get the revenue is of no concern to them. They just want all they can get, any way they can.
    Its really useless to try to stop them, they’re a runaway train going downhill…faster, faster, more and more.
    Government has grown at such a rate over the past several decades, we’ll never be able to control it’s lust for money. We, the working tax payer, have unlimited resources to fund their appetite for spending and growth.
    They say they “received” our message in November. Its apparent they really didn’t. They thrown us a bone to appease us, then they go after the entire body, hoping to devour it. Watch, a small cut here, a small cut there, then a fee increase here and there, a tax on this and that. Any savings will be quickly changed with “added” revenue sources.
    Again, we’re being duped. As the saying goes “Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me”. How many times are we going to let them fool us?

    • Paul Donovan

      The Rockefeller Institute of Government has looked at the latest job statistics…while the data showed relatively strong growth in private sector employment, “the picture remains rather gloomy for state and local governments,” the institute said in a report. Seven years after the start of the Great Recession, state and local government employment still has not recovered to its pre-recession level.

  • David Russo

    Forget “Freedom and Unity” our new motto: “Head Shop to the Northeast”

  • Michelle Salvador

    Perhaps what is most frustrating to me is that we are not talking about the impact that that this would have on youth and future economic implications. We know in the research that when you normalize use of a substance and when you increase access and availability, young people begin to use at a younger age. Introducing substances while the brain is making important neural connections in adolescence has long term health consequences. Young people who use before the age of 15 are 5 times more likely to develop chemical dependency in their lifetime than those that use after 21. Ask those that struggle with addiction when they first began to use…guaranteed the response you will get most of the time will be age 13 or earlier. Look at the data we have available to us. Vermont tops the nation in alcohol and marijuana abuse in our youth and young adults. That is a product of our culture, of the acceptance of our culture in Vermont.
    I understand proponents are not supporting to make it legal for youth. This does not matter. Simply normalizing it and increasing access and availability has been demonstrated to impact use and early initiation of use. Look at our very own data.
    We must consider long term, future economic implications on our health care/ treatment system. We struggle now to have enough treatment for Vermonters and there is a big price tag that comes along with that….and what about all of the other health and societal implications and the price tag that comes with that?
    The impact on public safety also needs to be seriously considered. Since January 2013, there have been 2 motor vehicle deaths due to alcohol…there have been 4 motor vehicle deaths due to marijuana.
    I urge the legislature to break through many of the existing myths about marijuana as they explore this.
    I heard the Governor express safety and well being of our children as being paramount. I heard the Governor continue to express concern over addiction and support increasing funds for treatment and recovery (note: no additional funding for prevention was mentioned). In my mind, legalization of marijuana contradicts these areas of focus.
    If we continue to only look at how to pay for things, and how to treat the problems once they exist instead of taking the opportunity now to look at how to prevent future economic and health and societal implications, I believe in the future we will find ourselves with a budget shortfall that is much larger than 100 million dollars.

    • Joel Bedard

      Curiously, research indicates that Cannabis is so readily available to minors in a prohibition state, that it is not a matter of IF a child can get Cannabis, but how long it takes them. In an unregulated state, Cannabis is more readily available to children than alcohol or tobacco. In an unregulated state, the dealers of Cannabis just as likely have actually dangerous drugs for sale as well.

      • Right, under age smoking isn’t prevalent because you can buy it at the local five and dime store…

        • Neil Gerdes

          it is more controlled, like alcohol. experts will tell you how raising the drinking age encouraged underage drinking. Prohibition of marijuana does NOT keep it out of the hands of the kids. Where do adults get there pot? They ask their children.

          • Following your train of thought we should abolish the drinking age then? No idea where adults get their dope. None smoke in my circle of friends.

            Continuing on your thought process, lets go ahead a legalize cocain while we are at it, it’s natural and obviously it doesn’t do any good to make it illegal. Why draw the line at Pot?

          • Michelle Salvador

            The drinking age is actually the single most studied public policy in existence. Raising the drinking age did not encourage more drinking, in fact quite the opposite. Of course prohibition does not keep it out of kids hands, but keeping it illegal makes it not as accessible and not as normed and that keeps it out of more kids hands than if it was legal.

          • Michelle Salvador

            In actuality, young people get their dope from adults and ma y from their parents.
            Youth Risk Behavior Survey 2013

        • Joel Bedard

          If your local 5 and dime is selling tobacco to children, you should report them, as they are breaking the law. Thank you for making my point, Randall.

          • Joel, I think you misunderstood my point. My point is that you still have under age smoking even though you can buy it legally at a five and dime store. It being legal hasn’t distracted minors from using it. I never tried pot when I was younger, but I did smoke cigs, saw adults doing it and thought it was cool. I know better now 🙂

            You statement implies that legalizing pot will make it less likely that minors will use it. You claim that it’s not a matter of if but when… I know plenty of minors that have never touched it. I also know plenty of adults that have never used it.

            Do some minors currently use it, sure, do some adults, sure. Putting the State stamp of approval on it and applying a regressive sin tax on it doesn’t send the right message to our young adults.It’s clear you have a vested interest in legalizing it. Money talks…

    • Rodney Harris

      I think that when considering the effect on youth, it’s useful to consider the trends in alcohol and tobacco. They are both legal and regulated. Youth are discouraged to use them and their usage by minors has been trending down. Marijuana, on the other hand, is illegal and unregulated. Marijuana is lumped in with harder drugs in drug education programs. Marijuana use is trending up among minors.

      It would seem that the successful strategy would be to make marijuana legal and regulated. Develop an effect anti-marijuana program for minors. This has worked well for tobacco and alcohol. I see no reason why it wouldn’t also work for marijuana. It’s clear that the current strategy isn’t working.

    • Phil Lovely

      Thank you Michelle. You’re spot on. Those who work with youth in schools, in the community, who coach and mentor are working to bend the curve and delay that first use of any substance as long as possible. We do not have enough children in this state to risk compromising the health and futures of those we have.

  • Mike Kerin

    MJ is no worse than alcohol or tobacco. In fact it has medical uses.
    Prohibition has not worked. Never did work for alcohol or pot. So why not try something different?

  • Harriet E. Cady

    The legalization of “Pot” will lead toe the same costs in society that alcohol has brought us. My son is dead because a pothead in Florida drove through a stop sign at 63 miles and hour. I thought Pot was harmless but a DR told me it affects mental judgment just like alcohol so tread softly on legalization to get money by investigating what the costs for treatment, courts and jail will be for the crimes resulting.

    • Sean Joyce

      The largest hurdle in the legalization of cannabis nationwide in my opinion was squashed yesterday by Eric Holder. The equitable sharing with local law enforcement of siezed assets from the war on drugs has always been a huge driving force behind why the DoJ continues to support it. As Vermonters we can be proud that our state is one of the best in terms of asset forfeiture laws.
      You may here lies that the MJ community is all about big business but the reality is that our government is being bought and sold by the pharmacuticals industry which has 1275 lobbyists on any given day. Maybe this is why every congressman supports the status quo including all of our own.
      Lets talk about SAM (smart approaches to Marijuana) Lets talk about the mandatory marijuana treatment centers that Bain Capitals is HEAVILY invested in with CRC health and trying to push decriminalzation so that people can be court order to admit they are addicts and enter treatment. Do you think Patrick Kennedy and Kevin Sabet invests in Bain? How about we talk about the lie that cannabis is stronger than it used to be. This is a blatant lie made up by bad data that the DEA housed. The strongest varieties of cannabis are from Thailand, Laos and Cambodia and they are 1000s of years old. Cannabis sativa has been bred with cannabis Indica to create hybrids and our ability to grow quality is optimized but to say that we have changed the genetics to be more potent is false. It is hard to find garbage quality but that doesnt mean we have changed the plant and it is an obvious reach to go after the people who used in the 60s and 70’s with fear by stating that it is a new thing.

    • Joel Bedard

      With all due condolences to the loss of your son, Mrs Cady, this subject needs to be critically discussed. Legislation based upon emotion is inoften a good idea. Further, ending prohibition and creating a regulatory system actually works in favor of reducing crime and accidents. In fact, this very scenario is playing out in Colorado, as traffic safety has improved dramatically in tandem with the ending of the prohibition of Cannabis.

      • This study would differ from your findings dated Sept 1, 2014. Perhaps you have newer data, as this brings up important data that must be considered if this is an issue the Vermont Legislature is going to pursue.

        http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24831752

        “Legal medical marijuana has been commercially available on a widespread basis in Colorado since mid-2009; however, there is a dearth of information about the impact of marijuana commercialization on impaired driving. This study examined if the proportions of drivers in a fatal motor vehicle crash who were marijuana-positive and alcohol-impaired, respectively, have changed in Colorado before and after mid-2009 and then compared changes in Colorado with 34 non-medical marijuana states (NMMS).
        METHODS:

        Thirty-six 6-month intervals (1994-2011) from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System were used to examine temporal changes in the proportions of drivers in a fatal motor vehicle crash who were alcohol-impaired (≥0.08 g/dl) and marijuana-positive, respectively. The pre-commercial marijuana time period in Colorado was defined as 1994-June 2009 while July 2009-2011 represented the post-commercialization period.
        RESULTS:

        In Colorado, since mid-2009 when medical marijuana became commercially available and prevalent, the trend became positive in the proportion of drivers in a fatal motor vehicle crash who were marijuana-positive (change in trend, 2.16 (0.45), p<0.0001); in contrast, no significant changes were seen in NMMS. For both Colorado and NMMS, no significant changes were seen in the proportion of drivers in a fatal motor vehicle crash who were alcohol-impaired.
        CONCLUSIONS:

        Prevention efforts and policy changes in Colorado are needed to address this concerning trend in marijuana-positive drivers. In addition, education on the risks of marijuana-positive driving needs to be implemented."

        • Rodney Harris

          While marijuana positive drivers are increasing in Colorado, traffic fatalities are going down. There is no solid data on this yet, but this is probably due to marijuana replacing alcohol.

  • Allan Rodgers

    We should all remember that these are the same minds which brought us healthcare reform.

    I predict the same playbook emerging:

    1. Pay a lot for a study(-ies) which supports the desired conclusion
    2. Create a false economic model based only on the most optimistic assumptions; ignore true costs
    3. Ignore information which doesn’t match the desired end goal
    4. Dismiss contrary opinions and silence the naysayers
    5. Declare a new human right
    6. Declare a miracle cure for all our economic woes
    7. If victorious, ignore any downside data for several years; or,
    8. If not victorious, declare the resolve to “continue the battle.”

  • Dave Bellini

    If they do legalize pot, it should only be for people over the age of 50.

  • Mary Daly

    What is this world coming to when supposedly sane , rational, elected officials even consider this bizarre idea?

    The way to solve the money problem is to CUT spending, not create a new problem just to raise taxes much of which will have to be spent fixing the problems the product raises

    • Rodney Harris

      I’m not sure what problem you think that they’re creating. People are using marijuana in Vermont today. Prohibition and the drug war have failed. Right now the state is absorbing the social costs while the only people making money are drug dealers. Why not allow the state to recover funds for the social costs in the form of taxes and have legitimate business people hire employees for their dispensaries and pay payroll taxes?

  • Elias K Gardner

    Having grown up in Vermont during marijuana prohibition, I can say first hand that in middle and highschool it was much much easier to get marijuana than alcohol or tobacco. Prohibition is not an effective way to keep marijuana away from children.

    • I would argue that as someone who smoked tobacco when he was in high school, I would say it was much easier to get alcohol or tobacco, even though you can’t grow either of those up here.

  • Homer Sulham

    It seems that Montpelier is seeing $$$$$
    and not to concerned about any repercussions from legalizing MJ.

  • David R. Black

    Legalizing pot will take all the fun out of hiding from the cops.

  • timothy price

    Government always exceeds its useful function. It grow far beyond our means to support their “laws”. Why is marijuana prohibition allowed? Get rid of this discrimination that was begun by rich industrialists based upon lies in 1913… a lot like the Federal Reserve…. a scam for their profit and control. Marijuana is a wonderful plant with tremendous benefits for those who know how it works and are responsible. The drug companies who this and do not want the competition to their monopoly either. The corrupt “war of drugs” is another huge money maker for all those in the system to profit from the criminalization of the plant, and the huge increase in price the “interdiction” of the drug promotes… without, of course, altering the supply in the least. It is a misdemeanor to posses it, but in order to get it you have to commit a felony… how cleaver. Increase demand, but keep the profits going to the racketeers. Shumlin is not being honest. He is part of the scam. He is a rich man playing the rich man’s game. Fiddle while Vermont burns.. illegally. make marijuana a a socially acceptable plant; teach it’s responsible usage and benefits to the youth. Earn the income form taxation and DO NOT increase taxes on employers for healthcare. Do not wait for the further “results” from Colorado. Tax coffee, for god’s sake, if you really want to increase the income to the state in an equitable way. This is just as fair as the discrimination against marijuana… and caffein IS damaging and does have a negative impact on society… health wise, and as promoting a hyper-aggressive culture. But stop discrimination against a truly wonderful plant that should be embraced within our society.

  • Francis Janik

    I do not find this report to be very well done, I am glad that we are discussing legalization of a plant that helps many to relax and has medicinal use. The report clearly states that Vermont has thousands of cannabis users. This means that we are already and have been for many years living with the effects of this usage.
    I am a registered patient. I smoke cannabis daily. I do not find myself addicted to cannabis as I am to coffee. I am able to drive safely, I drink less alcohol and no longer take the extremely addictive prescription narcotics that had been prescribed to me. This plant is far less of a problem to our society than alcohol, tobacco, legal narcotics, and sugar. I say we simply remove the laws that prohibit the use of this plant. We have been lied to for over 75 years by government and companies that profit from the prohibition. The drivers who smoke are already on the roads. The science tells the truth. I ask the legislators to take this opportunity to allow Vermont to lead and not to follow. Lets fill the inns with happy cannabis consumers. Why should we deny any of our fellow citizens the right to choose a non narcotic, alcohol and tobacco free product to relax with? You cannot overdose on cannabis. Cannabis does not kill our fellow Vermonters like the legal drugs , alcohol and tobacco. The
    time is now. Let’s not kick this can down the road any further.

  • Richard Heilman MD

    Terrible, terrible road to take. The blandishments of the legalization proponents about the innocence of Pot are the worst sort of propaganda. Legislators (and others) should Google “Adverse health effects of cannabis use” and read for themselves what the literature on THC has to say. The idea that Vermont should finance its spendthrift ways on the back of pot revenue strikes me as shameful.

    • Fred Woogmaster

      Shameful, Dr. Heilman?

      What’s truly shameful is the collusive and cozy relationship between the medical industry and the pharmaceutical industry. Opiate addiction is reaching epidemic proportions, fueled significantly by the abundance of prescribed pills “on the street”. I hope that concerns you a bit more; it is much more serious.

      Given its history, replete with false Federal classification, the only rational action is legalization, control with taxation.

      Our world is imperfect and all things are relative. Marijuana is relatively benign and enjoyed by millions. Make it legal!

      • Glenn Thompson

        Fred Woogmaster,

        Before you criticize a Doctor’s position on Marijuana…you should at least research the topic before declaring pot to be “benign”. Nothing can be further from the truth.

        Here is an example…and believe me I can do this all day long!

        http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/marijuana

        • sean joyce

          Do you really think NIDA is the best source for accurate info on the subject? They wouldn’t be protecting their jobs now would they?

        • Sean Joyce

          “As the National Institute on Drug Abuse, our focus is primarily on the negative consequences of marijuana use,” said Shirley Simson, a spokeswoman for the drug abuse institute, known as NIDA. “We generally do not fund research focused on the potential beneficial medical effects of marijuana.”

          http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/19/health/policy/19marijuana.html?_r=1&amp;

          Interesting to see where both your NEW links get their biased data. I think it is a crime that Nora Volkow is getting paid with tax payers money to lie to unknowledge folk.

        • nicole boar

          The NIH is in bed with the drug manufactures. Wait and as time goes by you will see that Marijuana is a valuable supplement for healing.

        • Fred Woogmaster

          I said “relatively benign”. I stand by that statement, Mr. Thompson.

          The articles you reference contain truth but are not necessarily true. My life long experience with marijuana has informed me and I know the truth of that experience.

          I know marijuana. Marijuana is relatively benign.

          • Glenn Thompson

            Definition of ‘Benign’

            “a. Having little or no detrimental effect; harmless: a benign chemical; benign indifference.

            b. Of no danger to health;

            c. Tending to exert a beneficial influence;

            d. Gentle or kind:

            e. Showing gentleness or kindness:”

            Those definitions certainly do not apply to marijuana given that drug’s negative impact on humans. You guys can live in denial all you want, claim the data and any study is biased. Claim that marijuana is a “herb, and is healthy”….and make any claim you wish to push for the legalization of the drug.

            However, the question becomes “should we pass a law that encourages more irresponsible behavior’? HELL NO!

    • Sean Joyce

      Maybe we should continue to allow a $300 Billion dollar a year PhRMA industry to dictate the freedom of the citizens of this country.

    • Joel Bedard

      Dr Heilman–please tell me about US Patent 6630507, what it means, who owns it and how it contradicts Schedule 1 of the CSA.

      We’ll be waiting…

    • Neil Gerdes

      The tax revenue should NOT be why marijuana is legalized. It should be because it’s the right thing to do, which it is.

  • Linda Baird-White

    IMBALANCE:

    Pot has an effect on mental judgement. That is well proven and documented.

    Also, lets not forget all the chemical “additives” which can cause permanent and irreversible chemical imbalances (or worse).

    Add to that the side effects of those medications to combat the drugs that are also life long and eventually create new life threatening consequences AND more expenditures funded by …….healthcare.

    There are budget cut proposals aimed at reducing funding relating to mental health. Add to expenditure a Life long and Very expensive list of medications to combat some of the damage. (Healthcare Costs) Obvious where that’s going.

    If lawmakers and government officials are foolish enough to support introducing a bill to legalize marijuana, driven by greed to satisfy a failed economy (largely in part caused by failure to deal with preexisting contributing factors)…… they should ALL be required to submit to drug tests ……. starting at the very top.

    • Joel Bedard

      These ‘chemical additives’ of which you speak wouldn’t happen to be the paraquat that the DEA has been spraying on Central and South American cartel fields, would it? Your tax dollars at work. The War on Drugs at work. Poison foreigners and their crops that are then smuggled into the USA.

      Yeah. Prohibition is awesome.

      That said–the US Center for Disease Control, responsible for mortality statistics, has ZERO RECORD OF FATALITIES DUE TO CANNABIS.

      Zip. Nada. Zero.

      • Linda Baird-White

        Joel Bedard: No, those are not the additives of which I am speaking. It can be laced with heroin, PCP, opium, crack cocaine, for starters.

        http://www.cesar.umd.edu/cesar/drugs/marijuana.asp

        • Sean Joyce

          Even though I think the notion of laced pot seems ridiculous, wouldn’t that be a talking point for legalization? I think it would be safe to safe that legal herb would be free of any of those.

          • Linda Baird-White

            It will be accomplished easily through naivety such as yours, along with the greed of those who have every intention of profiting greatly under the guise and use of a legalization gateway.

  • Hale Irwin

    I do not see the windfall of tax money to the state. If Vermonters are able to get the tons and tons of pot the consume today without difficulty why would they go to the “blessed” source and pay taxes on it?

    • Sean Joyce

      So they don’t feel like criminals and they can get a product that (most likely) is tested for mold and containaments. So they can support their state instead of a criminal cartel provided that their state doesnt get greedy(which of course VT will)

      • David Dempsey

        Sean,
        Valid points. But for many pot users price will matter more than supporting the state, and the dealers who sell cheaper pot wouldn’t last long in the business if they sold bad pot.

        • Rodney Harris

          It certainly won’t happen overnight, but the ability to buy legal marijuana will eventually shut down almost all black market dealers. As a dealer retires, people will be more likely to buy through the legal stores rather than finding a new black market dealers. New dealers will have a hard time finding clients.

          Consider alcohol, where there is a negligible black market.

    • Joel Bedard

      60+% of Colorado consumers already willingly switched to the legal market in the first year alone. Do you buy your steak from a back-alley? Or from a regulated source?

      If you say ‘back-alley’ meat is your preference, I have some pork chops for you.

  • sandra bettis

    I already have a name for my new business – incredible edibles!

  • Doug Lay

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

    Legalizing, taxing and regulating that volume could generate $20 million to $75 million a year, the report said. Factor in marijuana tourism, and the revenue estimate soars into the hundreds of millions.”

    First two sentences of the article state the facts that should frame the debate. It happens anyway! That is an indisputable fact. It’s not like legalization is creating a new phenomenon. Think of the savings in law enforcement, courts and corrections and add that to the potential revenue and now you’re talking real $$. Not to mention freeing up law enforcement to go after the real criminals.
    Just do it already!

  • Steven Farnham

    Apart from pain relief, is there a benefit to smoking pot? Do the benefits of “recreational” pot usage outweigh the liabilities? I have my doubts. Do we really want legalization to grease the skids to easy access, and increased usage? I doubt it. But is prohibition effective? It seems not.

    It seems that any bill legalizing pot needs a provision which stipulates implementation of known, effective usage deterrents, including educating youth and the public that there are better ways to get high.

    That said…

    “Mary Alice McKenzie, director of the Burlington Boys and Girls Club and a member of the anti-legalization group SAM-VT, said she opposes the law because of her concerns with substance abuse among youths.”

    What is the breakdown of pot usage by age group? If minors are already a significant percentage of the users, then we have to ask if (and by how much) usage by minors will increase when pot is legalized. If legalization has negligible affect on usage by minors, Ms. McKenzie’s argument is moot. If minors are going to smoke the stuff anyway, the state might as well profit from selling pot to them just like it already profits when minors smoke tobacco.

    Ultimately, it will be the state that endures the expense involved in fixing any social and societal collateral damage that results from minors smoking pot, so I don’t see why the state shouldn’t profit from it as well.

    Another consideration is the possibility that legalization will reduce the youth usage of pot. Seems counter-intuitive, but it is possible. If it isn’t “forbidden fruit,” it may lose its allure.

    If there is an interest in reducing pot usage among minors, likely the most effective method is to educate youth such that they lack the desire for (and exert peer pressure on each other to avoid) the stuff in the first place. That, and the parents have to stop using it — telling your kids not to smoke while you’re in a pot-induced stupor probably is not terribly effective.
    ________

    “The study said 60 percent of marijuana users nationwide have a high school education or less, which is the population most served by substance abuse counselors, she said.”

    Do 60 percent of tobacco users nationwide have a high school education or less? What about alcohol users? Or drug users? Or (insert “bad” habit here)?

    “A bill that would require that edible marijuana be packaged in single-dose, child-resistant packaging has already been filed by Sens. Dick Sears, D-Bennington, and Jeanette White, D-Windham.”

    Really? “Child resistant packaging”? Does that equal “teen resistant packaging”? Honestly, the silliness of some of these ideas utterly flunk the straight-face test.

  • Don Peterson

    I’d really hate to live in the only state in New England where tourist came explicitly to get impaired and drive around to look at the leaves.

    If that’s how we balance our budgets, there is something very wrong with how we administer our finances.

    • Brian T. Heybyrne

      Honestly Don, given the stature of Vermont craft beer …. it’s already the case.

  • George Cross

    Sorry Sandra, that name is already registered in Vermont.

  • Tom Sullivan

    You know what the legislators are thinking.

    “If we can pass legalization legislation, we can keep spending as we have been, and ignore all of the cuts that the governor proposed”.

    Do you really think we can “bake” our way out of this deficit? Please focus on reduced spending, and get off the dope.

    • Peter Liston

      One excellent way to reduce wasteful spending is by stopping with the criminal action against people who smoke pot.

      • nicole boar

        I agree completely, Peter. Stop putting pot smokers in jail and use the limited jail space for say, rapist, homicides?

  • greg lapworth

    Legalizing dope will help solve our firearms problem in Vermont. On the Federal Firearms application, you must fill out at a gun sellers in Vermont, it asks if you are a user of marijuana . If you say yes, no firearm. If you say no but are a user, you are committing a felony. Might never get caught but you risk jail time and confiscation of firearms if later caught. If the proposed firearms law passes your MJ use might show up on your transferred to government medical records. Keep dope illegal and forget about anymore firearms laws. We have too much government in our lives without them “screwing” us more!

  • nicole boar

    Pot is not a drug. It is a herb and it is healthy. Do some research and see what the unbiased tests show. It is not addictive. Alcohol and most chemical (artificially created) drugs from drug companies is addictive. Ever thing is being blamed on pot in Colorado, but the truth is there is a “smoke screen” of lies perpetrated by drug companies (who can not patent a herb). Actual tests show there is LESS crime and no addiction to pot.

    • Nicole from the dictionary:

      Drug:-a medicine or other substance which has a physiological effect when ingested or otherwise introduced into the body.

      If you think it’s in no way addictive, perhaps you should read this study done at Harvard it really is a good read from a unbiased source, there is information for both sides of the equation:

      http://news.harvard.edu/gazette/2001/10.11/marijuana.html

      “Some of the deficits we saw were as bad, or even worse on day seven as on day one,” Pope notes.
      This suggests that withdrawal, rather than a residue of drug in the brain, accounts for the bulk of lingering impairments.” A residue effect should decrease from day one to seven after quitting, but withdrawal problems would increase before they decrease.”

      • nicole boar

        Food is a drug, then. And sugar is the worse addictive substance known to mankind. There are hundreds of studies from all over the world showing this. So lets just put MORE sugar into our food and get worried about the effects of marijuana.
        Hmm I guess aspirin is also a drug, anyone for some coffee?

        • Glenn Thompson

          Nicole boar,

          “And sugar is the worse addictive substance known to mankind.”

          Shaking head!

          More additive than Heroin and Cocaine? Should we legalize those also?

          • Sean Joyce

            Without going to any data, I would assume that sugar kills ten times the amount of people both Heroin and cocaine combined.

          • Sean Joyce

            Strike that. I did a quick search and found that sugar is blamed for 15-30 million deaths a year worldwide. Soda alone kills 180,000. Cigarettes kill 5 million.

    • Nicole from the dictionary:

      Drug-a medicine or other substance which has a physiological effect when ingested or otherwise introduced into the body.

      Concerning unbiased research, you should really have a read at the link below, there is good information for both sides of the equation.

      http://news.harvard.edu/gazette/2001/10.11/marijuana.html

      “Some of the deficits we saw were as bad, or even worse on day seven as on day one,” Pope notes. “This suggests that withdrawal, rather than a residue of drug in the brain, accounts for the bulk of lingering impairments.” A residue effect should decrease from day one to seven after quitting, but withdrawal problems would increase before they decrease.

      • Sean Joyce

        “As the National Institute on Drug Abuse, our focus is primarily on the negative consequences of marijuana use,” said Shirley Simson, a spokeswoman for the drug abuse institute, known as NIDA. “We generally do not fund research focused on the potential beneficial medical effects of marijuana.”

  • Aula DeWitt

    This topic is clearly a hot button for many. I would hope that before anyone decides that use of pot is appropriate that they consider the long term effects of us on the body, and in particular the brain, as highlighted in this recent article. http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/you-illuminated/201409/long-term-effects-marijuana-the-brain

  • Ethan Rogers

    An unintended consequence of Colorado’s legalization: 32 homes/apartments blowing up across across the state in 2014, up from 12 in 2013. Apparently, the junior chemistry aficionados were trying to produce hash oil. Fully story in the NYT today.

    • Joel Bedard

      Or perhaps, an unintended consequence of Prohibition, as a legitimate company with proper safeguards in place would be performing that role when Cannabis is finally legalized.

  • Brian T. Heybyrne

    End Government prohibition. The legality of the substance never impacted ones ability to obtain it.

  • Connie Godin

    I’m not getting any younger and I want to smoke weed without the worry of the criminal justice system taking all my money. Tons of it is around now so lets make it fair, try to keep it away from the kiddies who have it now, tax it and let me use this wonderful weed that’s now classified as a Class I I guess from ‘Reefer Madness” what 80+ years ago. It’s pot, not molly, not coke, not herion, It’s a plant POT>

    • nicole boar

      You summed it up well, Molly.

      • nicole boar

        oops I mean Connie.

  • Nicole from the dictionary:

    Drug-a medicine or other substance which has a physiological effect when ingested or otherwise introduced into the body.

    Concerning unbiased research, you should really have a read at the link below, there is good information for both sides of the equation.

    http://news.harvard.edu/gazette/2001/10.11/marijuana.html

    “Some of the deficits we saw were as bad, or even worse on day seven as on day one,” Pope notes. “This suggests that withdrawal, rather than a residue of drug in the brain, accounts for the bulk of lingering impairments.” A residue effect should decrease from day one to seven after quitting, but withdrawal problems would increase before they decrease.

  • Pete Novick

    I figured I would get ready for the day Vermont legalizes marijuana by buying a domain name so I could get rich off of flatlanders driving up on weekends to take advantage of our soon-to-be Green Mountain High.

    So I went to a popular website to check on domain names and buy one that would help me become rich without actually having to do any work.

    Boy, was I ever in for a surprise. So many names were already taken!

    Here’s a partial list of domain names which are not available:

    vermontweed.com

    greenmountainhigh.com

    vermontpot.com

    potvermont.com

    vermontmj.com

    vermonttoke.com

    It’s interesting, since Vermont High is available, but when you put the words together it’s vermonthigh, which sounds like it’s a come on for organic chicken or maybe something to do with the porn industry.

    I did find three domain names available:

    vermontstoner.com

    burntlipsvermont.com

    vermontbong.com

    At ten bucks a pop – a domain name is probably cheaper than a nickel bag, and a better chance of striking it rich than a $2 Powerball ticket.

    Ain’t this a great country, or what?

    Cheers

  • Laural Ruggles

    If VT wants to raise revenue, tax sugary drinks. It’s a win-win and a 2 cent per ounce excise tax would raise over 30 million dollars.

    • Would you tax diet drinks? Does stevia count as a sugar? I would hope you would include coffee with sugar added at the local Starbucks.

    • nicole boar

      I agree Laural. Not only is sugar bad for the body, it’s so addictive that it is bad for the brain, mind, spirit, what have you. It should have been banned 50 years ago. If it can’t be banned then for improving everyone’s bad health for which we all pay for, at least tax it heavily.

    • Jason Wells

      Prog/lib solution for everything more taxes give me a brake.

  • Don Peterson

    This is very well framed– why is this state administered like a traveling carnival.

    Rand’s conclusion that revenues from legalization of marihuana are in the “20 to 75 million dollar” range are so broad as to be useless as a basis of policymaking.

    But it does provide the adminstration with a much needed diversion from all the self inflicted bad financial news!

    • Rodney Harris

      You should take a look at the study. The wide range from 20-75 million is due to the fact that Rand outlined several options for taxation that led to different tax predictions for each option. The report is actually quite comprehensive.

  • Peter Everett

    An interesting comment on why pot will become legal. This was a comment from a man I had coffee with this morning.
    “Most in politics ( Fed and State) are from generations where pot use is prevalent, in fact, most have ( probably still do) use the
    substance. Therefore,they see no harm in its use.” I can’t be blamed for that comment.
    Both my wife and I have never used this, we see no need to alter our state of mind with substances.
    As far as things go, most Vermonter’s think we’re messed up anyway because we are Conservative. A high ranking state politician, who lives across the street from me, definitely thinks so about me (can’t say as I blame him since I voluntarily moved here. Big mistake!!!).
    Instead of living within their means, those in Montpelier are looking for new ways to find revenue. I have heard they really w a nth to get their hands on the money we’re saving with lower gas prices. It’s driving them crazy that they think we need this extra revenue when they feel they can better put it to use. Get ready for the big push to get at this money.
    Back to pot. I read and article that where pot is legal, there is now a glut of the plant. Revenues aren’t as expected. Why? People aren’t dumb, they are buying “Black Market” stuff, avoiding paying taxes. I bet those in power don’t think this will ever happen in Vermont. Boy, will they ever be surprised.
    Maybe that’s why the spread in the predicted revenue is so great.

    • Rodney Harris

      Peter Everett, the spread in the prediction is so great because Rand outlined several options for tax structures for legalization. The report is actually quite comprehensive.

    • nicole boar

      Peter if you ever had an alcoholic drink or wine, then you already “altered” your mind.
      A cup of coffee has caffeine in it which also effects the mind. sugar effects the mind. heck, what does NOT effect the mind?

  • Kevin Wilkinson

    One thing you left out is that Vermont treats medical marijuana users like sex offenders. The statute I read about 5 years ago stated that in order for a person to become a legal medical marijuana user the Vermont State Police and local law enforcement would require an itinerary of your daily movements, the locations and phone numbers of everywhere you expected to be at any given time of the day or night. I’m talking about people who are in pain, whose only other legal option is to run the risk of using a drug like Oxycontin, that is highly addictive and very difficult to stop using. Prohibition is stupid.

    • nicole boar

      Well stated, Kevin

    • Jason Wells

      Kevin, Thats totally bogus the State wants no such thing AT ALL! They only want to know if your growing or using a dispensary and in the case of growing you need to tell them where your growing and it needs to be in a locked room. The Sheriff can request to see your grow room (although they rarely do) but only to insure your growing within the limits of the law. So in closing I really wonder just what statute you read 5 years ago cause I have NEVER seen such wording.

  • Rich Lachapelle

    In Vermont we already have State participation
    and blessing in the marketing of fatty ice cream and other dairy products, craft (gucci) beer and maple syrup (very harmful for diabetics) as wholesome, healthy products. These are simply animal fat, alcohol and pure sugar being masqueraded as “health foods” with our own Attorney General protecting the Vermont branding claims. As we all know, a harmful product with “Vermont” on the label is magically transformed into wholesome, natural and beneficial.
    Simply legalizing a product that is already in common use does not imply State endorsement. Of course, once the temptation to grab revenue is obvious to the Legislature, they will begin their own marketing campaign about what wonderful programs for the children that can be funded. They will not legalize without a mechanism for the state treasury to dip their beak.

    • There is no such thing as health, only sickness.

      Health is merely code for economic opportunity.

  • Ron Avery

    I am confident “the legislature” will miss the boat as usual.

    Makes little difference what the citizens want, it’s what they want that is important.

  • sandra bettis

    80,ooo admit it – I’ll bet there are a lot who don’t. As far as youth smoking, any one with any contact with youth knows that they already do – this bill will not affect them one way or the other. Prohibition did not work with alcohol and it does not work with pot.

  • Why don’t you tax thyselves, and gain the respect you so declare that you deserve, electorate?

  • paul lutz

    The lust for spending is amazing. It can’t be a spending problem, it must be a revenue issue.

    Why not legalize prostitution? In this liberal state, why is it the Goverement can tell an adult woman what she can or can’t do with here body. At 33 weeks pregnant, a woman could legally kill her baby, but she can’t accept money for sex??

    How much would legal prostitution raise?

  • Glenn Thompson

    Paul lutz,

    “How much would legal prostitution raise?”

    My guess, probably a heck of a lot more than what marijuana would bring in?

    Taking into account this comment from the article

    “Factor in marijuana tourism, and the revenue estimate soars into the hundreds of millions.”

    I would imagine the ‘floodgates’ opening in attracting tourism into Vermont would create enough revenues (between prostitution and pot legalization) to pay for a Single Payer healthcare system where everyone who refuses to lead a healthy lifestyle will be on equal footing with those who live a healthy lifestyle and act responsibly.

    Perhaps those who are pushing to legalize pot for the revenues would care to answer that?

    • Rodney Harris

      This is a false equivocation between prostitution and marijuana legalization assuming that the only motivation is revenue. There are far different moral issues between the two including, but not limited to, the fact that one involves human trafficking.

  • Curtis Sinclair

    A local doctor who drank so much that he passed out at his medical office, will now be allowed to treat patients again.
    Dr. Jason Lane collapsed while working with the Kaiser Zion Medical Group in October 2013
    http://www.nbcsandiego.com/new

    A Sacramento doctor is accused of showing up to work and treating patients drunk.http://sacramento.cbslocal.com/2012/0

    There are many other cases. It is easy to tell when someone is impaired by alcohol. It is not so easy to tell when someone is impaired by marijuana. Marijuana impairs short-term memory and decreases motivation to accomplish tasks, even after the high is over. When pot is legal more people may use it including doctors and nurses. There are too many medical, errors now. What happens when more people are impairing their functioning with marijuana and then treating patients? Drug testing will be needed for all medical professionals to ensure the safety of patients. Drug testing should be mandatory for everyone in work that involves public safety.

    • Glenn Thompson

      Curtis Sinclair,

      “Drug testing will be needed for all medical professionals to ensure the safety of patients. Drug testing should be mandatory for everyone in work that involves public safety.”

      It’s not just those fields but also in industries and businesses where employees work around ‘dangerous equipment’. Many of those type of businesses already require a ‘drug testing’ before being hired. Then any employee who walks into work or onto the job site ‘impaired’ instantly ends up on the unemployment line! Again….why would we wish to pass a law that would encourage more irresponsible behavior?

  • Robert Fuller

    I have a hard time with the numbers in the study. Such huge ranges show lack of any good data.

    33,000-55,000 lbs and 80,000 users. so at 55,000, it’s .6875lbs or 11 Ozs.

    This isn’t your parent’s pot. Some estimates show it being 10 times as powerful as what mom and dad smoked. 11 Oz seems to be a staggering amount in today’s pot.

    That said, size of joints is probably less. Somebody up thread mentioned 25 per oz. Some dispensaries do 0.5 and 0.7 g. which is 40 to 53 joints per oz. So that would be 440-583 joints per year for every one of those 80k people. I think the numbers are inflated.

    • Rodney Harris

      The report acknowledges the problems with gathering this type of data. The usage rates are based on national surveys. There is a tendency for people to lie about illegal activities. There is also a small sample size for Vermont.

      The black market doesn’t report sales numbers, so the total lbs. are based on law enforcement estimates.

      I think it’s likely that number of users is under-reported and total lbs. are over-reported, but these are the best numbers they can work with.

      The only way to get better numbers would be to have a legal, regulated market.

  • Curtis Sinclair

    We should be looking at other factors than tax revenue when deciding to legalize pot.

    From :http://www.coloradoan.com/story/news/local/2014/09/14/positive-marijuana-tests-spike-among-colo-workers/15649023/

    Positive marijuana tests spike among Colo. workers

    In the first year of legalized recreational marijuana in Colorado, the drug showed up on 20 percent more employment-related drug tests performed by Quest Diagnostics, according to the company.

    The science behind the drug tests hadn’t changed, and Barry Sample, director of science and technology for the employer solutions branch of the company, cautions against reading much into a single year-over-year increase.

    “While it’s interesting, and it could be a harbinger for things to come, I think it’s a little too early to draw conclusions at this point,” Sample said, adding that the increase of positive tests warrants further study.

  • Richard Heilman

    Today, Jan 23, 2015, Gov Hickenlooper of CO is reported to have said that the decision to legalize Marijuana was ” A bad idea idea”. (And more)
    Hardly a vote of confidence from a state that has two years of experience with legalization.
    Dick Heilman

    • Paul Lorenzini

      As the only state in the country to legalize pot, I suspect that Hickenlooper, and the citizens of the state are experiencing an overdose of potheads.