RAND Corporation to Study Issues Surrounding Marijuana Legalization in Vermont

For Release

July 23, 2014

Researchers from the RAND Corporation will study the issues related to potentially legalizing the production, distribution and possession of marijuana in Vermont, officials said today.

In May 2014, Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin signed a bill that requires the state secretary of administration to report to the General Assembly regarding the taxation and regulation of recreational marijuana in Vermont.

“We are pleased to help the state of Vermont think through the potential consequences associated with alternative marijuana policies,” said Beau Kilmer, project leader and co-director of the RAND Drug Policy Research Center.

Kilmer met with state Secretary of Administration Jeb Spaulding and other Vermont officials this week to discuss the study.

The law calls for the report to analyze the possible taxing systems for the sale of marijuana in Vermont, including sales taxes, use taxes and excise taxes, as well as the potential revenue each may raise. In addition, the study will examine any savings or costs to the state that would result from regulating marijuana and the experiences of other states with regulating and taxing marijuana. Issues surrounding public health and public safety also will be addressed.

The study will be supported by the state and by Good Ventures, a philanthropic foundation that makes grants in consultation with GiveWell, an organization that researches charities and advises donors. The work will be completed by January 2015 and the final report will be published as a RAND research report.

Kilmer previously helped direct a project that examined marijuana legalization in California and was part of a team of experts who advised the state of Washington as it implemented a voter initiative that legalized marijuana. He also is co-author of the 2012 book “Marijuana Legalization: What Everyone Needs to Know.”

Since 1989, the RAND Drug Policy Research Center has conducted research to help policymakers in the United States and throughout the world address issues involving alcohol and other drugs. In doing so, the center brings an objective and data-driven perspective to an often emotional and fractious policy arena.

About RAND

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