The Massachusetts cannabis market is fairly young, having only begun recording retail sales in 2018. Despite its youth, the market steadily grows as the state makes cannabis licenses fairly accessible to businesses that want to operate in Massachusetts.

As more businesses are under review for official licensing, the state’s cannabis market revenue is likely to keep growing. The state’s cannabis revenue comes from taxes imposed on recreational marijuana products. Here are some facts:

Cannabis Market Facts

Massachusetts began selling marijuana products in retail stores in November 2018. From November 21 to December 25 of that year, public data states that gross sales within that first month were at $13.4 million. By December 2019, the figure exceeded $460 million.

This data comes from the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission (CCC). Most retail sales come from marijuana buds. The following marijuana product categories account for the state’s total cannabis market revenue, per CCC data:

  • Buds
  • Raw Pre-Rolls
  • Infused (edible)
  • Vape Product
  • Concentrate (Each)
  • Infused Beverage
  • Shake/Trim (by strain)
  • Infused Pre-Rolls
  • Infused (non-edible)
  • Concentrate
  • Kief
  • Shake/Trim
  • (Other)

Currently, total gross sales since retailers opened are at $1.66 billion (as of June 2021). These figures come from sales of adult-use marijuana or recreational marijuana, which carry up to 20% of total tax.

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Cannabis Tax

Here is a summary of the cannabis tax rates in Massachusetts:

Marijuana Sale Tax Rate
Medical Marijuana No tax
Recreational Marijuana 6.25% statewide retail sales tax10.75% marijuana excise tax3% optional local excise tax

Buying medical marijuana products from a dispensary in Massachusetts does not come with any tax. Only qualified patients may purchase medical marijuana products. Meanwhile, you can expect between 17% to 20% tax on adult-use retail purchases of cannabis products.

The 17%-20% out-the-door total tax rate comes from the state’s 6.25% retail sales tax and 10.75% marijuana excise tax. The additional 3% tax comes from local excise, which is optional. Any city, town, or municipality in the state of Massachusetts has the prerogative to impose an additional local excise tax rate not exceeding 3% on top of the total cost from recreational marijuana sales.

The Massachusetts Department of Revenue website offers more comprehensive information on cannabis tax laws within the state.

Cannabis Market Legality

Here is a timeline of the cannabis legality in Massachusetts:

Year Turning Point
2008 Allowed possession of cannabis in small amounts
2012 Allowed medical cannabis to qualified users
2016 November: Legalized recreational cannabis useDecember: Six-month delay of recreational sales
2018 November: Launching of first retail cannabis business
2019 September: CCC approved cannabis regulations for medical- and adult-use, requiring licenses to operate
2021 June: Approved adult-use applications and licenses currently at 821

In 2008, Massachusetts decriminalized cannabis possession through a ballot, granted that the amount in possession was less than an ounce. By 2012, Massachusetts expanded the local cannabis market to medical users, making it the 18th state to make medical marijuana available.

In November 2016, Massachusetts approved Question 4 by majority vote. This initiative legalized recreational cannabis use for adults aged 21 and over. By December of the same year, the state legislature voted to delay recreational cannabis sales for six months.

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The delay caused Massachusetts to move its licensing and launching of cannabis shops from January 2018 to November 2018. In November 2018, the state saw its first retail cannabis business open.

In September 2019, the Massachusetts CCC approved regulations for medical- and adult-use cannabis in the state. These regulations introduced licenses, which became required to operate as marijuana retailers, cultivators, manufacturers, microbusinesses, transporters, and testing facilities in Massachusetts.

The current numbers of approved licenses are available on the CCC website. Here is a summary as of June 2021:

Licensee Total Number Approved
Marijuana Retailer 341
Marijuana Cultivator 250
Marijuana Product Manufacturer 189
Marijuana Microbusiness 20
Independent Testing Laboratory 11
Marijuana Transporter with Other Existing ME License 5
Third-Party Marijuana Transporter 4
Craft Marijuana Cooperative 1
TOTAL 821

Cannabis license aspirants must submit an application to the CCC, which will spend up to 90 days assessing whether their dispensary is qualified to operate in Massachusetts. There currently are 236 license applicants under review as of June 2021.

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Conclusion

The cannabis market in Massachusetts began in 2018 when the state established licensing regulations. An aspiring marijuana business can apply for cannabis licenses to cultivate, sell, or transport marijuana products within the state.

Existing data states that Massachusetts has generated over a billion dollars in recreational marijuana sales. This figure continues to grow by the day, as the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission regularly plots sales figures on their website.

If you want to learn more about the latest marijuana news and statistics, visit TNM News for your information. We cover the latest cannabis industry news from U.S. marijuana tax laws to the market statistics per state.