So Far, Legalization In MA Isn’t Paying Off For Retailers Or The State

A slow rollout of stores and their far-flung locations are being blamed

Government leaders throughout Massachusetts envisioned dollar signs when cannabis legalization passed. Taxes would help fund the subway, police, and schools.

But because of the slow rollout of stores and their far-flung locations, tax revenues have been disappointing so far. The state projected it would reap $63 million in taxes by June 30, but had received only $5.9 million as of March 1.

The projection assumed “a reasonable number” of stores would be open last July, Revenue Commissioner Christopher Harding said in 2017. Instead, the first shops opened in late November, four months later.

“The numbers are low, but it’s too early in the birthing of this particular industry to be able to actually calculate whether we’re on or off track for our revenues,” Administration and Finance Secretary Michael Heffernan said at a budget hearing this month.

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