Vermont Marijuana Legalization Likely…But in What Form?

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Vermont marijuana laws have been a source of much discussion in recent years. Already having legalized the use of medical marijuana, the state has been looking into legalizing commercial marijuana for some time now. A couple of years ago, the state ordered the creation of a RAND Corporation Report that would give a guide for Vermont marijuana legalization processes. Meanwhile, state officials travelled to Colorado to witness firsthand how the state handled the legalization process in the hopes of implementing the successful ideas into legalization standards for Vermont.

A Full Spectrum of Options

The state has taken a painstaking approach to the process of legalization and there are currently 3 Vermont marijuana policy reform bills up for consideration. The RAND report shows 12 possible ways to legalize marijuana from keeping things the same to removing all Vermont marijuana laws. All possibilities are being explored to the fullest extent.

Vermont Marijuana is Already a Valuable Commodity

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Those mountains may be getting a lot greener soon.

Recently, the popular political opinion in Vermont is to legalize marijuana and the estimated increase in state money is an important aspect of this. The RAND report indicated that up to $75 million in tax revenues would be introduced annually as a result of Vermont marijuana legalization. Farmers are already equipped to grow vegetables in cold weather and that’s all they would need to grow marijuana and have a more financially rewarding crop.

The commercial demand for marijuana in Vermont was found to be significantly high. Studies indicate that the state of Vermont has the third highest per capita rate of pot smoking in the country. It’s estimated that 33,000 to 55,000 pounds of marijuana is used annually amongst the 600,000 population of residents. This shows that there is a lot of potential revenue and business growth for the state and Vermont marijuana farmers and producers.

Keeping It Local

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Republican Sen. Joe Benning wants to “keep it local.”

Vermont has experienced a lot of success growing an artisanal cheese industry and a craft beer industry. It rates first in the country for per capita beer production. A group known as the Vermont Cannabis Collaborative (VTCC), has been at the foreground of designing a new business model for producing marijuana products that fit into Vermont’s business style of being small scale, locally owned, organic, community supported, sustainable and artisanal. Even Republican Sen. Joe Benning was quoted as saying “Keep it small. Keep it local. I don’t want to see a Budweiser coming in. I want to see a Heady Topper.”

The group has been referred to as an economic dream team, consisting of a sports bra inventor, a maple syrup mogul, the creator of Vermont’s biggest gardening supplier and founder of Seventh Generation, a green cleaning product manufacturer. The cooperative is looking to create a way for farmers to pool resources to access a greater market than what would be available to them independently.

Fifty six percent of Vermont residents are in favor of Vermont marijuana legalization and it seems like it’s just a matter of time before it happens. Scott Coriell, spokesman for Gov. Peter Shumlin, said “As you know, the governor is supportive of legalizing marijuana in Vermont, the question for him is not if but when.”

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