Voters narrowly reject retail marijuana

 

Voters narrowly rejected retail marijuana in Hull today. The unofficial results were posted less than 10 minutes after the Memorial School polls closed at 8 p.m. 

The tallies posted by Town Clerk Lori West were:
On Question 1: the Yes vote – to prohibit retail pot – was 1,010. The No vote – which would have permitted sales – was 856. There were 4 blanks.

On Question 2, which had the same effect, to be articulated in a zoning bylaw as opposed to a general bylaw, the Yes vote was 1,027. The No vote was 833, blanks 10.

The Times will publish a complete report of today's activity in Thursday's paper. 

State issues rules to guide legal marijuana industry

The state’s Cannabis Control Commission on March 6 unanimously approved 935 CMR 500.00, the regulations for licensing and implementation of the adult-use cannabis industry in Massachusetts. The vote came nine days before the commission’s statutory deadline.

“Today’s meeting was the culmination of months of dogged dedication to an open and collaborative process that embraced the diversity of thought, experience, and perspective of Massachusetts residents in service of the people’s will,” said CCC Chairman Steven J. Hoffman. “Each commissioner was intentional, balanced, and respectful in the healthy push and pull that ultimately delivered a regulatory framework that will result in a retail market that is appropriate for Massachusetts. It was a thorough and necessary process to ensure that the Commonwealth’s unique needs around safety, equity, and commerce were represented in the final regulations.”

The unanimous vote was taken after a six-month process that included 10 listening sessions, nearly 500 public comments, and seven public hearings to deliberate on roughly 150 policies.

The final regulations include nine license categories: cultivator, craft marijuana cooperative, microbusiness, product manufacturer, independent testing laboratory, storefront retailer, third-party transporter, existing licensee transporter, and research facility, to meet the immediate needs of the industry.

Key Regulation Outcomes:

• First-in-the-nation requirement for Registered Marijuana Dispensaries (RMD) to maintain an adequate medical supply of marijuana products for patients that either equates to 35 percent of inventory, or the average, actual sales over the prior six months if co-located with an adult-use Marijuana Establishment.

• Priority status for Economic Empowerment Applicants to support licensees from communities and areas disproportionately impacted by high rates of arrest, conviction, and incarceration related to marijuana crimes.

• Universal symbols to indicate a marijuana product contains cannabis and is harmful to children;

• Executive Office of Energy and Environment Affairs’ (EEA) recommendations to reduce cultivator energy use and limit emissions in the Commonwealth;

• Flexible licensing and fee structure that promotes the inclusion of small- and large-scale business ventures, encourages responsible production, and allows growth.

“I’m excited to reach this important milestone; however, there is significant work ahead to launch a safe, robust, and vibrant adult-use cannabis industry,” said Shawn Collins, executive director of the Cannabis Control Commission. “The commissioners and I worked closely with our peers around the nation, sister agencies, policymakers, and community members who provided invaluable feedback to ensure that the regulations reflected best practices and addressed concerns. We are now focused on continuing to build our staff and implementing this progressive and innovative marketplace that puts the health and safety of our citizens first.”

The commission will incorporate language approved at the March 6 meeting into the final regulations before filing them with the Secretary of State.

Over the coming months, the commission has a number of additional milestones to reach, including:

April 1: Begin accepting license applications

June 1: Earliest date on which the commission may issue a license to operate a Marijuana Establishment.

For more information, visit the commission’s website at mass-cannabis-control.com or follow the commission on Twitter at @MA_Cannabis.

Nevada nets $3.7 million in 1st month of marijuana tax collections

By Colin A. Young
STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE

The Silver State is seeing green, having hauled in $3.68 million in state tax revenue during the first month of legal marijuana sales.

The bulk of the revenue was generated by Nevada's 10 percent retail tax on sales of recreational marijuana, totaling $2.71 million in July, the Nevada Department of Taxation reported. Another $974,060 came from a 15 percent wholesale tax charged to all cannabis cultivators.
Wholesale tax revenue goes to Nevada schools and is expected to bring in $56.2 million over the next two years.

Revenue from the 10 percent retail tax will go to the state's rainy day fund and is expected to produce $63.5 million over the next two years. Marijuana became legal in Nevada on Jan. 1 and retail sales began July 1, making the state the fifth in the country to provide legal retail access to marijuana.

Massachusetts consumers will pay a state excise tax of 10.75 percent, the 6.25 percent sales tax, and a local option tax of up to 3 percent on retail sales.

Based on estimates compiled by the Department of Revenue – using a range in taxable sales between $771 million and $1.433 billion – a 20 percent effective tax rate on marijuana could produce between $72 million and $134 million annually, or between $6 million and $11 million a month in Massachusetts.

Although Nevada's population is less than half of that of Massachusetts, 203 of the 250 marijuana licenses issued in Nevada are in Clark County, which includes the major tourist destination Las Vegas, according to that state's Department of Taxation. So far, Nevada has licensed 53 retail stores, 92 cultivation facilities, 65 product manufacturing facilities, 31 distributors, and nine testing labs.

After largely avoiding marijuana policy proposals for years, the state Legislature this year rewrote the voter-approved law legalizing adult use of marijuana. The redrafted law boosted tax rates and state and local officials are now eyeing pot tax revenues as they compile future spending proposals.

Bay State voters approved marijuana legalization last November. Retail sales in Massachusetts are expected to begin in July 2018.