At the first hearing of the Legislature’s Joint (heh) Committee on Marijuana Policy in Boston, various politicians, state officials, and members of the public discussed how to best institute the Massachusetts’ new marijuana laws. Among other things pointed out, the state Department of Revenue revealed that legalized marijuana in the state will generate roughly $65 million in taxes in year one and about $130 million in the second year.
The Boston Globe reports that the law puts a a 3.75 percent tax on retail sales with a local tax option of two percent on all marijuana purchases in addition to the standard 6.25 percent state sales tax. In other words, at it’s maximum cannabis would be taxed at a rate of 12 percent.
The Globe notes that taxes are even higher in the seven other states where recreational marijuana is legal, but some in Massachusetts fear raising the tax could leave room for illegal cannabis sales to continue. That said, the State Legislature is reportedly expected to hike the tax rate. From the Globe:
Both House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo and Senate President Stanley C. Rosenberg are open to raising the tax rate. But Governor Charlie Baker, who ran for office in 2014 pledging not to raise taxes or fees, was decidedly more qualified Monday.
Asked whether he supports raising marijuana tax, a Baker spokeswoman said the governor believes “the tax rate should reflect the cost of implementing the new law as well as any secondary costs associated with expanded use of marijuana.”
In November, a measure–Question 4–to legalize recreational weed use for those 21 and over in the state passed by over 1.7 million votes.
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