Massachusetts House would repeal, replace rec marijuana bill

The Massachusetts House of Representatives on late Wednesday approved a bill that would repeal and replace the adult-use marijuana law voters passed last November and would more than double the tax rate and require that cannabis business employees be fingerprinted in the process.

The state Senate must now work on its own version of the recreational cannabis bill. Once it’s passed, both chambers must then negotiate a compromise bill they hope to send to the governor by July 1.

The House bill, which passed 126-28, calls for:

  • Raising the tax on retail cannabis sales from 12% to 28%.
  • Background checks and fingerprinting for anyone who owns or works in licensed marijuana-related businesses.
  • Empowering municipal governments to ban or limit marijuana businesses without consulting voters. Under the voter-passed law, marijuana businesses could be banned or limited only by a local referendum.
  • The creation of two enforcement agencies. One agency would work within the Cannabis Control Commission, a five-member board that, once it’s established, will regulate recreational and medical marijuana. The other organization would be part of the state attorney general’s office.

Marijuana retailers could begin opening in the second half of 2018.

The Senate version of the rec bill – which calls for more modest revisions in the current law – would leave with voters the power to decide whether a marijuana businesses can locate in a town or city and also maintains the 12% tax rate that the voter-backed referendum envisioned.

– Associated Press

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6 comments on “Massachusetts House would repeal, replace rec marijuana bill
  1. Rick Fague on

    While raising taxes seems like a good idea, it completely backfired here in Washington state. Not only did it hurt retailers, it allowed the black market to thrive, which is contrary to the Cole Memorandum’s intentions.

    I guess we’ll see if the same thing happens in Massachusetts.

  2. James Welk on

    Massachusetts already has a thriving “gray” market that beats the medical dispensaries in price, convenience while maintaining quality. The state refuses to go after it and the few businesses that are operating legally are struggling because of it. These states are getting out of control with greed.

  3. Whatever LOL on

    America is the continent, United states is the corporation. Typical. Lets grow plants and tax it so we can pay for luxury cars and hookers. Morons!

  4. Morgan Glenn on

    I guarantee if you raise taxes people will go to the black market that’s a Cole Memo violation. Taxes are too high in Oregon but what’s worse is the opportunistic pricing and regs for required potency and pesticide testing. The labs money grab ended up doubling the price for extracts and edibles which tanked the industry.

    • Paul Donnini on

      I agree. In Oregon, and every other state, the first recourse for raising money to replace mis-managed revenue, under funded projects, and abusive mis-spending has been “sin-taxes.”
      Everyone feels like they have the magic number, without considering that every few years that number will rise.
      Of course, small business owners don’t need a footing, or any kind of concession to stabilize a highly erratic market (how much is a quality lb. in your state?) because the lobbying major corporate will sort that all out for us when they get the green light (pun intended) in 7-10 years.

      I love this country, but damn…to make a buck? Here? Really?!

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