VERMONT: Legalizing marijuana is not a binary choice.
After months of research, the RAND corporation on Friday released a report for the state of Vermont exploring marijuana legalization and regulation there. The 218-page report, commissioned as a result of a May law, explores every aspect, option and pathway to legalization.
The report breaks out 12 ways a state can regulate the supply of marijuana, grouped into three categories. The first category covers the two familiar models: maintaining prohibition but reducing penalties, a policy being increasingly adopted, and the commercialization Colorado and Washington are testing out right now. Another category explores two extremes: maintaining prohibition and increasing penalties, and repealing prohibition without passing any kind of regulation of the marijuana industry. A third category explores eight options that fall somewhere in the middle.
Each of the 12 paths offers different benefits and risks to public health, government control of the industry, the ability to generate revenue and the level of conflict with federal law. What follows is a look at the pros and cons of each approach.