Vermont is likely the next state to legalize marijuana, based on a 24/7 Wall St. analysis of the industry. New information buttresses the argument.
According to The Next 11 States to Legalize Marijuana:
According to a Rand research study on marijuana legalization, Vermonters consumed between 15 to 25 metric tons of marijuana, worth between $125 million and $225 million, in 2014. More than 19% of state residents 12 years and over reported using marijuana in the past year, the third highest share nationwide. Also, according to the Vermont Department of Health, marijuana consumption is more common among 12- to 17-year-olds in Vermont than in any other state in the nation.
As in every other state likely to legalize pot, possessing less than an ounce or less of the drug is not punishable by incarceration. Possessing more than an ounce, the selling of any amount, or cultivating the plant, however, is considered a misdemeanor. Selling a half ounce or more, or cultivating three or more plants, is a felony.
Pot arrests equaled 148 people per 100,000. Marijuana-related arrests totaled 926 in 2012.
Earlier this month, a committee of the Vermont Senate recommended that the state allow recreational use of marijuana without penalty. Vermont Gov. Peter Schumlin stated:
The war on drugs has failed when it comes to marijuana prohibition. … The question for us is how do we deal with that failure. Vermont can take a smarter approach that regulates marijuana in a thoughtful way, and this bill provides a framework for us to do that.
The legal use of marijuana could be just a month or two away.
Methodology: To identify the next states to legalize marijuana, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed states where possession of small amounts of marijuana is not punishable by jail and also where medical marijuana is currently legal based on data from the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP). We also considered marijuana-related arrests per 100,000 residents through 2012 provided by the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report. In addition, we considered the estimated proportion of residents 12 and older who had used marijuana sometime in the past year, based on annualized data from 2012 and 2013, from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Public opinion polls were provided by the Marijuana Policy Project based on the most recent available survey. All data on current enforcement policies and penalties were provided by NORML.
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