MA treasurer seeks delay in rec cannabis stores opening, tax hike

While Gov. Governor Charlie Baker has promised to implement Massachusetts’ recreational marijuana law “briskly,” State Treasurer Deborah Goldberg said she wants to delay the January 2018 target date for adult-use shops to open and would like to increase the 3.75% marijuana sales tax.

Goldberg’s view is important because – under the recreational marijuana initiative that Massachusetts voters approved 54%-46% – the treasurer is responsible for managing the state’s marijuana industry, including appointing the three members of a Cannabis Control Commission, The Boston Globe reported.

Goldberg suggested that the January 2018 target for sales to begin would be difficult to meet and said “rigid deadlines” should not dictate how the law is implemented, according to the Telegram & Gazette of Worcester. Goldberg didn’t offer a new target date.

The treasurer believes a tax hike is necessary to ensure the state can effectively monitor the industry and also have some reserve funds, according to the Globe.

Goldberg’s office has begun its search for a software company to provide seed-to-sale tracking and other tech services by publishing a “Request for Qualifications” before Tuesday’s elections, the Statehouse News Service reported. She expects to receive responses by January or February.

Baker, an opponent of legalized recreational marijuana, vowed to oversee a “responsible and timely” rollout of the new law because “the people spoke and we’re going to honor that,” according to the Telegram & Gazette. He also noted that when he took office in 2014 – two years after Massachusetts passed medical marijuana – no dispensaries were open. Now, seven are in operation.