New Massachusetts Bill Revamps Cannabis Tax, Sets Up Regulatory Body

Massachusetts state’s Republican governor Charlie Baker signs a new measure revamping some of the rules in the original Bay State voters’ initiative passed in 2016 regarding marijuana legalization. Under the new law, marijuana sales tax will be raised to 20 percent from 12 percent.

The state is set to levy a 17 percent tax on cannabis, more commonly known as marijuana, while municipalities are to issue an additional 3 percent tax.

Going big

In its first year of legalization, the state’s Department of Revenue already projects recreational marijuana sales to contribute $83 million to total tax revenues. In its second year, revenue predictions for the industry is expected to rise to $200 million.

It’s a lucrative industry. Still, despite its salient economic advantage, the bill sympathizes with the state’s cities and towns which opposed to the ballot measure.

Under the law, these towns are given the prerogative to ban marijuana stores, given they are rightly approved by the voters.

Setting up

The signing of the bill was a significant move to the process of legalizing cannabis. Almost a year after the ballot measure participated by Massachusetts voters in alliance with voters from three other states, the law is now set to establish a regulating body to be named Cannabis Control Commission.

This commission, under the provisions of the new law, will be given until March of next year to set up regulations for the cannabis industry, including its cultivation, manufacture, testing, sales, and advertising, among others.

A fair law

Despite being of the opposition himself, Gov. Baker recognizes and respects the voice of the majority who voted in favor of the legalization and its due regulation.

“The people voted this and I think it’s important that we put the program in place and deliver a workable, safe, productive recreational marijuana market for them in Massachusetts,” Baker said.

“We appreciate the careful consideration the legislature took to balance input from lawmakers, educators, public safety officials and public health professionals while honoring the will of the voters regarding the adult use of marijuana,” the governor added.

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