House Speaker DeLeo: Use pot revenues to help fight addiction

Pot sales not expected to begin until mid 2018 in Massachusetts

BOSTON (AP) — A top Democratic lawmaker says he wants to use tax revenue from legal marijuana sales to help fund the state’s battle against opioid addiction.

House Speaker Robert DeLeo unveiled the proposal on Tuesday during a speech to the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce.

The Winthrop Democrat called for creation of a Substance Addiction Fund using proceeds from pot sales, which are not expected to begin in Massachusetts until mid-2018 at the earliest. He compared it to a trust fund that was created from casino revenues to prevent and treat gambling addiction.

A legislative committee was recently formed to consider changes to the voter-approved recreational marijuana law, including possible adjustments to the 3.75 percent excise tax on legal sales of pot. Many lawmakers believe that tax rate is too low.

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