The Boston Globe reported this morning that the cost of implementing the newly passed recreational marijuana law will be close to $30 million in in its first year! Wasn’t it just a few weeks ago we were all being inundated with campaign ads telling us how much tax revenue marijuana sales were going to bring in to the state to help fund our schools? Now we’re learning that local legislators are looking at dipping into the state’s emergency funds to pay for regulating the newly legalized drug. Sadly, this is not a surprise. Our Commonwealth may have to learn the hard way that recreational drug use, like the crime it used to be, does not pay. In Colorado, which legalized marijuana in a 2012 ballot initiative, the social and economic costs continue to vastly outweigh the limited tax revenue from marijuana sales.
But the battle is not over. We will continue to work with the broad coalition that opposed the marijuana ballot question to educate and empower local communities on how they can prevent pot shops from taking root within their city limits. On the national level, we should not forget that marijuana is still a controlled substance under federal law. There is some discussion already about whether a new attorney general such as Sen. Jeff Sessions, might enforce federal anti-drug law in states like Colorado and Massachusetts. Pot shops may be legal under state law, but they are still criminal drug dealers under federal law. This could shut down the local pot industry before it even got off the ground. We will keep you posted.