With the help locally of thriving cannabis dispensaries from Great Barrington to Pittsfield to North Adams, excise tax revenue from cannabis has now surpassed the excise tax revenue from the sale of alcohol in Massachusetts according to a report by WCVB-TV in Boston. Figures from the Mass Department of Revenue show a slight increase of excise tax revenue on booze halfway through this fiscal year to $51 million dollars. Blowing past that number is the excise tax from weed that is in excess of $74 million for the same time period according to the WCVB-TV report.

Keep in mind the revenue stream didn’t even exist until dispensaries opened in the state late in 2018. A large boost to the coffers both at the state and local level. According to the WCVB report, the gross sales in Mass since the legislation of recreational cannabis is over 2 ½ billion dollars.

Sales of recreational weed are taxed three ways…1-Excise Tax (10.7%) …2-State Sales Tax (6.25%) …and Local Tax (3%).  The only way to keep from paying the high taxes is to reconnect with your old high school weed connection (still illegal) or acquire a medical marijuana card. Those with a medical marijuana card do not pay tax on the cannabis they purchase. The cost of obtaining a certification for the medical marijuana program can run into hundreds of dollars. Click this link to the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission for additional information.

With the staggering financial windfall to states and local communities from a state’s legalized marijuana legislation, I’m amazed that New Hampshire and Rhode Island continue to lose out on this tremendous revenue stream as their residents drive over the state’s border in droves to legally purchase some sticky bud. Both NH and RI allow medical marijuana sales but the restrictions on getting an MMJ card are much more restrictive. Both states have decriminalized some pot laws but New Hampshire is not likely to smoke 'em if you got 'em anytime soon.  Republican Governor Chris Sununu does not support recreational marijuana legislation.  Ironically the state has NH State Liquor Store on just about every highway and back road in the state.  Rhode Island legislators expect to take up cannabis legislation again this year. According to the WCVB-TV report estimated that over 25 billion dollars were spent on recreational and medical cannabis last year.  That tax revenue will help fill a lot of potholes and build a lot of schools throughout the country.

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