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Massachusetts May Tax Black Market Cannabis Dealers Instead of Fining Them

Merry Jane reports on an eminently sensible way of dealing with the grey and black market.

Massachusetts officials are trying to brainstorm a more effective way to weaken the black market. A recent report by the state Attorney General’s office and the Cannabis Control Commission (CCC) proposes the creation of a new, multi-agency task force that would focus on cracking down on unlicensed pot operations.

The necessity of such a task force was driven home by the recent outbreak of vaping-related lung illness, which is linked mainly to illegal cannabis vapes. “I think the vape crisis really drove home the need for there to be an ability to respond in perhaps a broader way and provide a mechanism to collaborate with other agencies in ensuring that the public is kept safe,” said CCC commissioner Britte McBride to MassLive.

The report proposes a relatively unique approach to tackling black market sales — encouraging illegal growers to get involved in the legal market rather than slapping them with excessive criminal penalties. On top of this, the report recommends the state tax department be given the authority to tax illegal pot sales at the same rate that legal sellers must pay.