Letter to the editor: Marijuana questions

Marijuana questions

Vermont is not Colorado, concludes the RAND Corporation report, commissioned by our legislators, about legalization of recreational marijuana (p. 156): "Vermont's situation differs in important ways from that of other states in different settings. Colorado did not have to worry too much about attracting large numbers of near neighbors; it is relatively isolated, at least from major U.S. cities.

"Vermont, on the other hand, has 40 times the number of its own marijuana users living within 200 miles of its borders. This fact should feature prominently in discussions about the future of marijuana policy in Vermont."

"An influx of tourists can be expected immediately after stores open" (p. 109). Tourists avoiding legalized marijuana will go elsewhere.

Our made-in-Vermont premium brand will market marijuana grown, processed and sold here as Vermont's most lucrative field and greenhouse crop and agricultural product.

Should conventional Vermont farmers and processors have dibs? Otherwise, will marijuana entrepreneurs outbid them leasing or buying agricultural land and buildings?

Should we subsidize marijuana farming and processing with agricultural assistance programs and current-use taxation of agricultural land and buildings? How about the right to farm?

The New York Times and Washington Post have reported that legalizing marijuana cuts foreign marijuana farmers' incomes, so they naturally switch to growing opium poppies for more, cheaper heroin.

"Legalization's indirect effects via changes in the use of other substances could outweigh the importance of the marijuana-related outcomes themselves" (p. 155).

Do we want to attract and tax marijuana tourists while benefiting 80,000 users (p. 18) among 627 thousand Vermonters?

— Howard Fairman Putney


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