BOSTON (WWLP) – The state will not assume new revenue from recreational marijuana sales for at least another year and a half, according to the state’s Department of Revenue.
“It remains unclear whether the control and licensing procedures will be implemented and from that point when a sizeable market will develop,” said Revenue Commissioner Michael Heffernan.
Massachusetts voters legalized recreational pot for adults 21 and up in November. The law is supposed to go into effect on December 15, but the date could be pushed back.
State Representative Todd Smola (R-Palmer) told 22News implementing the law could cost taxpayers money before retail sales even begin.
He said, “I think a lot of people that believed they were voting for the marijuana question thinking that it was going to bring lots of money into the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. If you get down to the fine details of it, that’s really not the case.”
The state has to create a new agency to oversee and regulate the pot industry. State Treasurer Deborah Goldberg warned lawmakers that her office will likely need additional funding to make it work.
“Why would it require startup funding? Because you have to actually build an agency, put it in an office, hire three commissioners,” said Treasurer Goldberg.
The recreational marijuana law calls for a 10% tax on the drug. Top state leaders are considering a higher excise tax in the New Year to boost revenue.
The new law also allows adults to grow marijuana plants in their homes, which is expected to hurt retail sales.