Legal Marijuana & OPEB in Massachusetts

Legal retail sale of marijuana in Massachusetts is fast approaching and many towns are reviewing whether or not to have a local store. Regardless of your personal views on the legalization, this presents a unique opportunity to help with your OPEB costs. In addition to the sales and state excise taxes, cities and towns will be able to impose a tax of up to 3% of gross sales on any retail marijuana shops.

Has your town has been struggling to meet your OPEB funding obligations? You’re not alone and this 3% tax could be a consistent, low effort way to fund. According to New Frontier Data, gross sales of legal marijuana in Massachusetts are expected to be $450 million in 2018, generating approximately $90 million in taxes. This figure is expected to grow substantially in the coming years – up to $1.2 billion in sales by 2021! Now your town would only see a small chunk of that, but it is a sizeable amount of new tax revenue. If you have other things you planned on putting this revenue towards like schools or infrastructure, consider dedicating a small amount to your OPEB fund. Even just 0.5% would make a difference and would reduce future strain on your taxpayers.

OPEB funding is a major concern in many towns across the state and it can be a hard sell to taxpayers. They’d much rather see their tax money go to current costs & that’s understandable. If your town decides to allow retail marijuana – embrace it and fund your OPEB obligations.

As always, if you have any questions on funding your town’s OPEB obligations, we’re here to answer.

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