CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – For the first time, Massachusetts has collected more tax revenue on recreational cannabis than alcohol.

Theory Wellness has a handful of Massachusetts locations, including one in Chicopee. The CEO saying he hopes more communities see this positive economic impact.

Excise taxes for cannabis sold for adult recreational use have exceeded alcohol excise taxes for the first time in the state. The state collected just over $74 million in cannabis excise tax through December 20-21, which is halfway through the fiscal year. That compared roughly $51 million in alcohol excise taxes.

Brandon Pollock is the CEO of Theory Wellness. He told us it has been a challenging couple of years because of the pandemic. Massachusetts dispensaries statewide had to shut down recreational sales for two months during the lockdown because they were considered “non-essential.” But Pollock said that once they reopened sales increased substantially.

“It’s been a huge success, and the communities that began to work with cannabis organizations early got a big head start and started generating that tax revenue,” Pollock said. “And we are starting to see more cities and towns who had that on pause looking to start bringing these business into their towns.”

The excise tax of 10.75% on recreational cannabis is part of the total tax revenue. There is also a 6.25 state sales tax, plus a local tax of up to 3%. And that all added up to $208 million in the last fiscal year.

Cannabis is the third most consumed psychoactive substance in the world after alcohol and nicotine.