Massachusetts Marijuana Legalization Hearings Today at State House

Massachusetts Marijuana Legalization Hearings Today at State House

If passed, the bill would legalize marijuana for adults 21 or older, and establish a tax on the cannabis industry in Massachusetts. Taxes would be established at a rate of $10 per 1% of THC per ounce.

BOSTON, MA —  A public hearing on a bill to legalize, tax and regulate marijuana in Massachusetts will be held today by a key committee on Beacon Hill.

Public testimony on the bill, House Bill 1632, the Cannabis Regulation and Taxation Act, introduced by Ellen Story (D-Amherst), will be heard by the Joint Committee on the Judiciary on Thursday, April 24 at 1:30 pm.

If passed, the bill would legalize marijuana for adults 21 or older, and establish a tax on the cannabis industry in Massachusetts.  Taxes would be established at a rate of $10 per 1% of THC per ounce:

The authority shall collect an excise upon sales by processors of cannabis at a rate of ten dollars per 1% of THC content per ounce. The amount of said excise shall be calculated by multiplying the THC content of the cannabis, expressed by percentage, by one thousand dollars (Example: an ounce of cannabis containing 5% THC is taxed fifty dollars, as .05 x $1,000 is $50.) Determination of THC content shall be established by dry weight, without seeds. 

House Bill 1632 would regulate the commercial cultivation, processing, and retail of marijuana to adults over the age of 21.

Massachusetts is one of a growing number of states where lawmakers are considering marijuana legalization, and Bay State voters have long favored marijuana reform in polls and at the voting booth.

In 2008, Massachusetts voters approved ballot Question 2, which decriminalized the possession of up to an ounce of marijuana, replacing jail time with a $100 fine.   Four years later, in 2012, voters again went to the ballot box in favor of further marijuana reform, this time authorizing medical marijuana in the state by passing ballot Question 3.  Both initiatives passed with over 60% approval state wide.

Marijuana activists in Massachusetts have targeted a ballot campaign in 2016 to place a question to legalize marijuana on the ballot, and are optimistic that it will pass, unless the state legislature acts sooner on their own.

Recent polls have found more than half of Massachusetts voters favor of marijuana legalization in the state.

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  • Ricky

    “Taxes would be established at a rate of $10 per 1% of THC per ounce:”

    ??? So the higher the grade, the more they will tax it? If I’m interpreting this right, I think this is lame.

  • Bubbles

    you said it ricky

  • Edo Edo

    Obviously, the most important piece of this puzzle is establishing the fully legal status in the state. This will prevent the arrest of responsible users and allow legitimate businesses to develop (not to mention incent surrounding states to do the same). However, the tax structure is much too complicated. It’s a symptom of lawmakers overthinking the situation at the expense of consumers. Hopefully this part will be struck down in favor of a simpler solution, else the locals will likely keep in touch with their underground suppliers…

  • Scott McCarrick

    Ill still buy it off the street. Im getting OZs for $150 in RI

    • Cannibis man

      Scott can I get the hook up? I’m paying $250-$300 an oz for OG Kush.

  • Ophelia Rump

    How is that tax not going to promote the black market over legal sales?
    The legal sales should be used to drive the price down to remove the black market appeal, that can never happen with this tax structure.

    This is just another way to prolong the war on Americans who use marijuana.
    Lets call it what it is. The war on Americans.

    • Howie Katzz

      The cartels (and let’s be honest not all dealers have connections to Mexico) can undercut any price the state puts up.

    • Jesse

      If it’s legal for adults to have for personal use how is this prolonging the war? Yes, it’s still going to be dangerous for black market dealers, but those are the only people it will be at all dangerous for.

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  • Cannibis man

    Any idea how this went? Waiting to find out what happened to this bill and to the medical dispensary effort.

    • The Dude

      I keep hitting refresh on the twitter and google feeds. No word yet.

  • The Dude

    The tax is bad but it’s a baby step. I’d rather have cannabis legal with a high tax than keeping it illegal. Let’s not forget when you have it legalized, the consumer can choose what he wants. In a black market you take what you can get… The tax law can be changed later.

  • Snapai

    It’s important to note that the tax rate is not “set in stone” in the law, but rather that the commission it establishes is allowed to change it to whatever seems appropriate:

    “Subject to approval by the general court, such excise shall be adjusted by the authority from time to time as necessary to maximize the revenue derived therefrom, and to minimize the incentive for the sale of cannabis not in accordance with the provisions of this chapter.”

    The first few lines of Section 3 of the law also make it explicitly clear that noncommercial cultivation or possession of the plant, as well as sharing it WITHOUT compensation, is entirely legal and unrestricted provided it is only among adults.

    “The following[…]shall not constitute a violation of[…]the General Laws”
    “(1) Possession or cultivation of cannabis by an adult for personal use.”
    “(2) Gratuitous distribution of cannabis to an adult.”

  • sharpss

    I find it astounding how each state thinks it has the right ideas about how to price cannabis. This $10 per each percent of thc ain’t gonna fly. How idiotic can lawmakers be? It reminds me of an idea in one of the western states where they wanted to allow outdoor grows if the grower would put up 10 foot high concrete walls and a door consisting of steel bars. Like Art Buckwald used to say, “you can’t make this up”. It’s too crazy. I ask, who is going to pay 6 or 7 hundred bucks for an ounce of legal weed when he/she can buy an ounce of black market pot for less than $200? Is there an idiocy test for becoming a politician?

  • Just want freedom

    So how did this go I cant find results