Vermont May Legalize Recreational Marijuana
Vermont state Sen. David Zuckerman introduced Senate Bill 95 on Wednesday, Feb. 18, which would regulate cannabis like alcohol. If approved, Vermont would be the first state to legalize adult recreational use of pot through the state legislature. Reuters/Marcos Brindicci

Lawmakers in Vermont this week have introduced a bill to regulate marijuana for personal use in the state. They hope that pot will one day be controlled and taxed just like alcohol sales.

Senate Bill 95, introduced by Sen. David Zuckerman, would allow adults older than 21 to possess up to one ounce of marijuana and grow up to two flowering plants and seven nonflowering plants indoors. It also forbids people to smoke it in public or drive while under the influence. Even nonresidents will be able to purchase up to one-quarter of an ounce from licensed sellers.

“Regulating marijuana will take sales out of the underground market and ensure they are controlled and taxed like any other product that is legal for adults,” Matt Simon, a spokesperson for the Marijuana Policy Project, said in a public statement on Wednesday. “It makes little sense to continue punishing adults simply for using a substance that is less harmful than alcohol,”

The bill, which would require the Department of Public Safety to regulate all sales, also includes an excise tax, like Colorado does, on wholesale transfers of marijuana such as from the growers to the retailers. Flowers would be taxed $40 per ounce, trim $15 and $25 per plant seedling.

Medical marijuana is already legal in Vermont. And if the bill passes, it will be the first state in history to legalize recreational pot via the state legislature, the Huffington Post reports.

Currently, 23 states have legalized marijuana in some form. Colorado and Washington have legalized recreational use for adults, with Alaska and Oregon soon to follow.

Colorado earned more than $50 million in revenue from marijuana sales last year. By mid-2015, Washington is expected to take in just above $40 million from its taxes.

According to a recent report from the Rand Corporation, residents of Vermont spent between $125 million and $225 million on marijuana last year. Rand estimates that if cannabis were to be legalized and regulated, the state could earn anywhere from $20 million to $75 million every year.