Local residents share mixed feelings about 20% tax on marijuana

The bill now goes to the House and the Senate for a vote

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The State House and Senate have come to a compromise on regulating recreational marijuana.

Some residents told 22news they were pleased, and others said they were disappointed, with the final decisions.

The bill will make it easier to ban pot shops in towns that voted against it, but some residents aren’t happy with the tax rate.

A six member conference committee came to an agreement Monday, compromising on two sticking points on amending the state’s voter-approved recreational marijuana law.

How towns can restrict or ban pot shops, and how much to tax it.

Elected officials in towns like West Springfield and Agawam that voted against recreational marijuana in November, wouldn’t have to hold a referendum in order to ban it.

Only in municipalities where a majority of voters approved recreational marijuana, would the state require a referendum to restrict pot shops.

The committee settled on a 20 percent total tax on marijuana. Some residents said that’s too high.

“I think they’ll go back to the streets like they normally do instead of doing it the way they’re supposed to do it,” Christopher Fettes of Springfield said. “If they’re gonna tax it more than it’s even worth.”

The Senate initially proposed a maximum 12 percent tax, and the House 28 percent. Others felt 20 percent is a reasonable compromise.

“I think it’s good you know,” Roberto Cortez of Agawam said. “It’s good for the people. Not 28, that’s too much. People end up going back on the streets to get it.”

The bill now goes to the House and the Senate for a vote.

If it passes in both chambers, it goes to the governor’s desk for final approval.