Lawmakers look to use excise tax on pot to fund youth jobs

If passed, a portion of excise tax on pot would subsidize wages for young workers.

Generic photo of medical marijuana

BOSTON (WWLP) – Lawmakers are considering a proposal that would put youth to work and keep them off the streets.

Summer youth employment reached a high of more than 75 percent back in 1989. But last summer, that was down to 53 percent according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Under one bill, the state would subsidize $3 of the $11 per hour minimum wage for youth workers under 24 by using revenues from pot taxes.

Pot sales have an excise tax of 3.75 percent, on top of the state’s 6.25 percent sales tax, for a total rate of 10 percent, as passed by voters in November. If the bill is passed, one percent of the excise tax on pot sales would be used to help businesses pay young workers.

State Rep. Michael Finn told 22News that he hopes the proposal will encourage businesses to hire and train youth, allowing them to gain new skills and stay out of trouble.

“I think it’s a great idea to be using some of that money to be able to help inner city kids or youth get jobs, work for the summer, learn new trades and see how the real world works,” Finn said.

The bill is currently under review by the Labor and Workforce Development committee and has yet to be approved.