Marijuana reform group wants pot tax reduced

MassCann said higher tax may drive customers to black market

BOSTON (WWLP) – The topic of raising marijuana taxes came up when the legislature’s Joint Committee on Marijuana Policy held their first public hearing this week.

The Massachusetts Cannabis Reform Coalition (MassCann) is urging lawmakers not to increase taxes on pot sales. MassCann wants lawmakers to support a bill that would reduce the combined 10% tax on marijuana sales to about 8%.

Continuing Coverage: Marijuana legalization in Massachusetts

Voters passed recreational pot for adults back in November, but the state has yet to fully implement the law. Some lawmakers argue that the current tax is too low for the state to gain sufficient revenue from sales. Other states, such as Washington, more than doubled the proposed tax on pot sales; charging a 37% excise tax.

Activists say that if lawmakers raise the tax too high, customers will purchase marijuana products on the black market.

“Increasing the taxes increases the amount of lawlessness in the black market, so what you get is a spiraling game of cops and robbers. We don’t want it to go that way,” MassCann press secretary Andy Gaus said.

Licensed marijuana retail stores are not expected to open until July of 2019.