MONTPELIER, Vt., Jan. 17 (UPI) -- According to research from the RAND Corporation, Vermont could make a lot of money if it legalizes marijuana.
"Our conversation about whether to legalize marijuana must be rooted in facts and be transparent about the uncertainties," said Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin. "This RAND report will serve as a critical foundation for our ongoing discussion about the best course for Vermont."
The report states that if Vermont legalizes marijuana, suppresses the black market and other New England states don't adopt similar marijuana laws, the state could bring in $75 million per year in tax revenues. Some of that revenue would come from people traveling to the state to take advantage of its law changes.
The report states Vermont residents consume between 15 and 25 metric tons of marijuana per year, and that could account for as much as $225 million spent on marijuana in 2014 alone.
"It is a false dichotomy to think about marijuana policy in terms of choosing either prohibition or the for-profit commercial model we see in Colorado and Washington," said Beau Kilmer, project leader and co-director of RAND's Drug Policy Research Center. "Jurisdictions considering alternatives to prohibition could limit supply to home production, cooperatives, nonprofit organizations, socially responsible businesses, a public authority or even a state monopoly."
Vermont became the 17th state to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana in 2013.