Massachusetts has voted to end prohibition of Marijuana. In a hard fought election. Large amounts of out of state and corporate money was spent against question 4. The majority of the money coming from casino owner Sheldon Adelson, liquor companies, and the Catholic Church.
The passed ballot question includes a 3.75 percent excise tax on marijuana that would be added to the state’s 6.25 percent sales tax, effectively taxing marijuana at 10 percent to start. Cities and towns would have the ability to add an additional sales tax of up to 2 percent on top of that.
At 12 percent, Massachusetts would have the lowest marijuana tax rate of any state that has legalized the adult use of the drug.
Colorado – 29%
Washington – 37 %
Oregon – 17 %
Alaska – 25 %
The purpose of keeping the tax rate low according to organizers is to cut out the black-market. Many feel that the Massachusetts legislature already had it’s chance to do something about ending prohibition of Marijuana, but chose not to. DeLeo’s vow to raise the tax implies that he and other elected officials know better than the people of Massachusetts.
“The concerns raised by Speaker DeLeo will likely be addressed by the Cannabis Control Commission when they write these regulations, so I would suggest that the Legislature wait and see what regulations are actually written, and then if they want to address it at that point they certainly can,” Jim Borghesani told the News Service. Jim Borghesani, spokesman for the pro-legalization campaign, urged lawmakers to evaluate the Cannabis Control Commission’s work before making changes to it.
Massachusetts legalized Medical Marijuana several years ago and has dragged its feet in licensing and opening dispensaries. One complaint about the dispensaries that have opened in Massachusetts is the cost of purchasing. It is currently cheaper to purchase Marijuana on the black market than legally. One of the chief reasons for legalization is to regulate it and take it out of the hands of the black market.