Recreational cannabis shops in Massachusetts collected more than $420 million in sales during the first full calendar year of legal recreational cannabis.
The state’s Cannabis Control Commission (CCC) previously reported that recreational shops sold $394 million in cannabis products from Nov. 20, 2018, when the first cannabis shops opened for business, to Nov. 20, 2019. The data released by the CCC shows December alone topped $10.7 million before Christmas.
Massachusetts imposes a 6.25 percent sales tax, a 10.75 percent excise tax and an optional local tax of up to three percent, totaling a tax rate from 17 to 20 percent. While the CCC’s data doesn’t reveal the tax revenue, 17 percent of the $420 million amounts to roughly $71.4 million dollars in tax revenue.
After beginning sales with only two open dispensaries, the state’s cannabis industry has grown to include 33 licensed retailers across the state. Massachusetts, which is also notably the first eastern state to open regulated dispensaries, has issued dozens of other licenses for cultivation, product manufacturing and laboratory testing.
Massachusetts became the first state with a regulated recreational cannabis industry when the first two stores opened. A cannabis shop in the state made history by being the first to offer gift cards during the holiday season. The shop received approval from the CCC to make the gift cards available.
The state also recently underwent a month-long ban on cannabis vaping sales that ended on Dec. 12. Stipulations include that any cannabis products must receive ample testing before making it to store shelves. Currently, there are only two testing facilities that are certified to do this. “There’s going to be some patches where we might experience minor delays due to increased volume, but overall, it’s something that we’re built for and we should be able to handle,” said Michael Kahn, President of MCR Labs. A recent test resulted in 13 of 109 cannabis samples failing to pass due to “impermissible levels of lead.”