Just because a state legalizes marijuana doesn't mean it's 100 percent legal everywhere. Local governments are allowed to ban marijuana sales within their jurisdictions. But should those municipalities still take advantage of marijuana tax revenue? Well, the state of Massachusetts says no.
Over 100 municipalities in Massachusetts have banned cannabis sales with their jurisdictions after the state legalized recreational marijuana last year. Many pro-pot advocates point out that under current law, every municipality would receive an equal share of the marijuana tax revenue regardless of whether they actually allow it to be sold in their boundaries. Multiple proposals have now been made to reduce the amount cities that ban marijuana can get from the state's tax revenue.
The Massachusetts Recreational Consumer Council (MRCC) will work with the state government to formulate a plan to reduce payouts to cities that ban marijuana. The current law says municipalities can collect a 3 percent tax on pot sales in their city and also receive 3 percent of sales from each local cannabis company. But members of the MRCC say that's not enough incentive to encourage cities from allowing marijuana sales.
“Municipalities shouldn’t be entitled to something they took no part in,” Kamani Jefferson, head of the MRCC, said. The proposal “would force their hand and really encourage them to let these businesses in.”
Some question whether a proposal to ban cities from receiving marijuana tax revenue is possible though.
“I’m not sure it’s workable, but I like the sentiment behind it,” said Jim Borghesani, an advocate for Massachusetts' legalization efforts. “Why should towns that vote to keep criminals in control of marijuana commerce and keep unsafe, untested product on the streets not experience repercussions?”
It seems logical that places that don't allow marijuana sales shouldn't be able to reap the benefits of the law as well. But this is America, and our government rarely follows the laws of rationality.