BURLINGTON, Vt. –

Nearly $3.1 billion is how much marijuana could add to public coffers across the country if every state legalized it. That’s according to San Francisco based data-crunching company NerdWallet. Several states are considering taxing and regulating the drug like Washington and Colorado do.

“So we wanted to add something to that debate, contribute a little more analysis. How exactly this initiative could benefit your state,” said Divya Raghavan, NerdWallet analyst.

Raghavan calculates legal weed would generate $11.4 million in the Green Mountain State and says that’s a conservative estimate.

They rounded down for many variables given the pot market is foggier than for products sold at the supermarket.

“It’s not a legal industry no one’s keeping track of it, it’s all under the table sales that aren’t taxed,” said Raghavan.

By comparison, cigarettes and alcohol taxes generate more than $115 million in Vermont.

The projected revenue for marijuana would be higher if lifting the prohibition lifts smoking rates and if Vermont uses a higher tax rate than Colorado’s 15 percent sales tax.

Farmer and Progressive State Senator David Zuckerman, Chittenden County, suggested a steeper tax at $50 an ounce in a proposal that went up in smoke last session.

He says legalization would also boost revenue in other Vermont industries.

“Vermont’s within a day drive of the quarter of the U.S. population, so I think it will augment our ski industry, it will augment our tourism industry,” said Zuckerman.

Zuckerman says weed revenue could be put toward drug treatment efforts and thinks legalization could save police resources and allow them to focus on harder drugs.

The president of the Vermont’s Chiefs of Police Association disagrees.

“The cost of legalization of marijuana is going too far exceed what the benefits are going to be,” said Chief George Merkel, Vergennes Police.

Merkel says the state’s problem with hard drugs would only grow if …read more