Like other medicines available only with a doctor’s permission, medical marijuana isn’t taxed in Massachusetts. But one lawmaker sees the green of money in all that green marijuana and wants to add a special sales tax to medical cannabis.
Sen. Brian Joyce on Tuesday amended a substance-abuse prevention bill to include a bill that would subject medical marijuana sales to the 6.25 percent state sales tax. That amendment was eventually removed and found ineligible. But that didn’t stop Joyce, who now says he’ll tack it on with the state budget.
Joyce argues that although medicine isn’t taxed in his state, medical marijuana isn’t truly medicine because the federal government doesn’t recognize it as such. He points out that over-the-counter drugs like Tylenol are subject to sales tax.
Of course, medical cannabis is a medicine. Joyce is just denying reality there. And medical cannabis is certainly not over-the-counter in Massachusetts – in fact you’ve got to go through way more to get medical cannabis than you do a legal pharmaceutical prescription. But it doesn’t help that other medical marijuana states tax the sales of medical cannabis.
Joyce says money raised through the medical marijuana sales tax could be as much as $60 million annually. He says that money would be used to fund substance abuse and treatment programs.
The state budget has already been approved by the House and is awaiting approval by the Senate. Any changes or amendments would have to be made by Friday as the budget is set for Senate debate next week.