Compromise marijuana bill would allow up to 20% tax

House lawmakers sought 28 percent tax, while senators wanted to keep tax at 12 percent max

FILE - In this Nov. 9, 2016 file photo. It is now legal in Massachusetts for adults to possess, grow and use limited amounts of recreational marijuana. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)

BOSTON (WWLP) – Massachusetts lawmakers are pushing to get a final marijuana bill to the governor’s desk.

The House and Senate reached agreement on a compromised marijuana bill, putting them one step closer to reforming the state’s pot ballot law.

The state’s six-member conference committee met behind closed doors Monday afternoon, and came to a consensus on a final bill to change the voter-approved recreational marijuana ballot law.

The proposal calls for a total 20 percent tax on pot sales that includes a 10.75 percent excise tax, according to bill writers.

The House proposal originally called for a 28 percent tax on pot sales while the Senate bill included a maximum 12 percent tax rate.

“If the taxes are too high, if the price is too high, and if it’s higher than the black market, people will still gravitate toward the black market,” said State Senator Jim Welch, (D) West Springfield.

If cities or towns voted no on 4, local officials can choose to ban pot shops, but those that voted yes can decide through voter referendum.

The House is expected to vote on the bill Wednesday and the Senate on Thursday, which could send the bill to the governor’s desk by the end of the week.

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