- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 28, 2018

The only two marijuana dispensaries licensed to sell recreational weed in Massachusetts reported Tuesday combined sales of more than $2 million dollars during the first five days of catering to retail customers.

Massachusetts regulators said the pair of pot shops selling marijuana under the state’s newly implemented system for taxing and regulating recreational sales sold $2,217,621.13 worth of related products between Nov. 20 and Nov. 25, excluding Nov. 22 when both dispensaries were closed for Thanksgiving.

The two marijuana dispensaries sold a total of 56,380 items during the five-day span, with the typical retail transaction consisting of a customer purchasing an average of 3.4 items at a cost of $39.33, according to numbers released by the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission. Individual items range from marijuana flower and pre-rolled joints, to infused edibles and oils, among other products.

Massachusetts voted in 2016 to legalize marijuana and launch a system for retail sales, and earlier this month it became the seventh state in the nation to establish a program permitting adults to legally purchase the plant from licensed dispensaries for recreational purposes. Regulators have only licensed two dispensaries to sell retail marijuana, however, making both pot shops singlehandedly responsible for generating the more than $2.2 million in sales recorded last week.

Massachusetts previously legalized marijuana for medicinal purposes in 2012, and both of the dispensaries licensed to sell recreational pot, New England Treatment Access in Northampton and Cultivate in Leicester, cater to medical patients as well as recreational customers.

The commission’s statistics does not account for medical sales, which are regulated by the state Department of Public Health.

Marijuana is illegal under federal law, but 33 states and Washington, D.C., have passed laws legalizing the plant for medicinal purposes, including 10 and the nation’s capital where recreational use is allowed.

Six of the 10 states to legalize recreational marijuana successfully launched systems for retail sales prior to Massachusetts, but the Bay State is the first east of the Mississippi to permit pot shops to sell the plant for non-medical purposes.

Recreational marijuana sold in Massachusetts is subject to the state’s standard 6.25 percent sales tax, in addition to a 10.75 percent excise tax and additional local taxes where applicable. Northampton and Leicester both tax retail sales at 3 percent.

Massachusetts previously projected recreational marijuana sales would generate more than $63 million in tax revenue for the state during fiscal year 2019.

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