On December 28, 2016, the Massachusetts state legislature voted to delay sales of recreational marijuana for six months. Originally, licensing for cannabis shops was set to begin on January 1, 2018, under the measure, but the delay set by legislators moved the date and first retail marijuana establishments opened in Massachusetts on November 2018.

On October 31, 2018, there are 61, 724 (up from 19,000 in early 2016) people who have gotten medical cannabis cards that allow them to use weed legally to treat a variety of ailments. They are served by 42 dispensaries. It is expected over 700,000 customers potentially interested in using of a recreational cannabis.

According to the Department of Revenue analysis, in the first 12 months of the program, Massachusetts could expect to see between $45 million and $83 million in tax revenue from the sale of recreational cannabis – with an estimated $64 million in the middle of that range. In the second year, Massachusetts could expect tax revenue between $93 million and $172 million, on sales ranging between $707 million and $1.3 billion.

Massachusetts cannabis market only in recreational part is expected to become a $1.17 billion industry by 2020. Research from multiple marijuana data and investment firms predict Massachusetts can become such a travel destination. If correct, an influx of tourists to Massachusetts can expand the economic impact of this legislation far beyond simply the marijuana industry.

Cannabis Taxes.

Under the new law, recreational marijuana will be taxed 17 to 20 percent. The baseline tax is 17 percent, which is determined from a combination of a 6.25 percent sales tax and a 10.75 percent special excise tax on adult use. But cities and towns can choose to add a three percent tax on top of the 17 percent, tallying up to a 20 percent tax on retail cannabis. Medical cannabis would not be subject to the tax.

Cannabis Control Commission (CCC) Deadlines:

  • March 15, 2018
    • CCC shall promulgate rules and regulations for the issuance of licenses.
  • April 1, 2018
    • Accept applications for licenses.
  • April 1-15, 2018
    • Review applications of operating medical establishments and businesses that demonstrate experience in or business practices that promote economic empowerment in communities disproportionately impacted, for grant or denial of license.
  • May 1, 2018
    • Independent Testing Laboratory regulations and rules promulgated.
    • Regulations for Nantucket and Duke counties promulgated.
  • June 1, 2018
    • CCC started reviewing licenses for cannabis establishments. Issued the first provisional
      license.
  • November 20, 2018
    • First Retail Marijuana Establishments open in Massachusetts. During the first five days, retail sales exceeded $2.2 million, according to figures released Tuesday by the Cannabis Control Commission.

Cannabis stores sold about $2.22 and $2.59 million worth of cannabis products during the first and the second weeks accordingly, according to figures released by the Cannabis Control Commission.

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