How marijuana will be taxed if Question 4 passes

As question is written, state would tax at a lower rate than Colorado or Washington

Snoop Dogg marijuana in jars
(AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – In one month, Massachusetts voters will decide whether to legalize marijuana for recreational use.

A “yes” vote on Question 4 is a vote to legalize recreational marijuana, but it is more than that. The ballot question also deals with how to tax the drug. It would put the state’s 6.25% sales tax, an optional 2% local tax, and a 3.75% excise tax on pot, for a total maximum tax of 12%.

That is far below Colorado, which charges 29% in taxes, and Washington State, which charges a 37% tax.

Massachusetts State Treasurer Deb Goldberg wants the state to increase the possible marijuana tax, however others say that taxing it at too high a level would encourage people to head to the black market drug trade.

“If it’s illegal people always find ways to get it. There is always going to be a way around it. But it’s just a matter of how much you can tax it. Finding that balance on where the black market is and what is going to push people to go that way,” Stephanie Krawczyk of Easthampton said.

“It’s equivalent to other relaxing substances that you can buy, like alcohol. I would stop at the 6.25%,” Alicia Ralph of Florence said.

It is estimated that Massachusetts would generate $100 million in marijuana tax revenues under the current Question 4 tax structure. Washington State collected nearly $130 million in revenue from theirs.

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