The Governor’s Marijuana Advisory Commission has issued its final report.
The group was tasked with studying the implications of legalized retail marijuana sales and how the state might transition to a system of taxing and regulating its sale.
The report suggests a 20 percent excise tax be levied on retail marijuana sales, on top of the existing 6 percent sales tax.
And the commission recommends that 5 percent of the revenue from the excise tax be distributed among all Vermont towns, with those towns with retail establishments receiving an additional 10 percent. The tax would also be used to pay for state costs related to a legalized marijuana market.
Among the commission’s recommendations are a number addressing public health and safety concerns, as well as use by young people, should the state establish a retail market.
The commission also recommends that Vermont spend $1 million annually for at least 15 years to study the health effects of cannabis use.
In a regulated market, the report says, the state should allow only those age 21 and older to purchase marijuana. It also suggests limiting the number and type of retail outlets selling it.
Additionally, the commission recommends licensing requirements and fees for those who sell, grow, process, transport and test marijuana, and the creation of a board of control to oversee the industry.
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According to the report, the commission was divided on two important issues: whether to permit retail sales of marijuana edibles and whether communities should be able to opt out of hosting a retail store. As a result, the report contains no recommendations on those questions.
Since July 1, 2018, recreational use of marijuana has been legal in Vermont. The law allows people age 21 and older to possess up to 1 ounce of marijuana and also two mature and four immature plants per household.