Since legalization in Massachusetts, the state has sold nearly $400 million worth of cannabis products and generated $61 million in taxes, according to Department of Revenue and Cannabis Control Commission figures outlined by MassLive.
In all, $393.7 million has been generated at 33 dispensaries in 32 municipalities. The state has derived $32.8 million in excise taxes, $19 million in sales taxes, and $9.1 million in local option taxes.
Commission Chairman Steven Hoffman, in an interview with MassLive, said he is “proud” of what the agency has accomplished and he is “pleased with how the rollout has gone to date” but said the commission would be focused on opening more stores, increasing banking options, reinforcing the commission’s social equity program, bringing more municipalities on board with the adult-use industry, and engaging the medical community on cannabis.
Hoffman said that the lack of towns that allow cannabis businesses is partly due to the host community agreements – deals between the business and towns that allow the municipality to ask for up to 3 percent of the businesses gross sales in exchange for their blessing to open up shop. Those deals have increasingly become an issue – leading to the arrest of Fall River Mayor Jasiel Correia in September and an investigation into donations made by a cannabis firm to the city by the Springfield City Council later that month.
Earlier this month, U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling convened a grand jury focused on the potential bribery of government officials by Massachusetts cannabis companies.
“I’m not criticizing any city or town. Every one is trying to do the right thing. But that is a factor. We can’t process applications without an agreement and that has a factor on the pace of rollout.” – Hoffman, in an interview with MassLive
The state’s social equity program is also off to a slow start, Hoffman said, noting that just 3.5 percent of economic empowerment applicants were minority-owned and of the near-7,000 approved and pending cannabis industry employee applications, 73 percent are white and 66 percent are male.
Hoffman said there are currently 395 license applications still pending with the state.