On November 8th, 2016, Massachusetts voters approved the legalization of recreational marijuana by a narrow 53.7% to 46.3% margin. Pot heads statewide rejoiced at the thought of free flowing Mary Jane, while other citizens lamented the moral decay of a society that could approve the liberal use of the Devil’s lettuce. Most observers could agree on two things, though. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts would find a way to screw up this potential cash cow, and the sale of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos was about to explode.
Via the Boston Globe:
“Government leaders throughout Massachusetts envisioned dollar signs when marijuana legalization passed. Taxes would help fund the subway, police, and schools.
But because of the slow rollout of pot stores and their far-flung locations, tax revenues have been disappointing so far. The state projected it would reap $63 million in taxes by June 30, but had received only $5.9 million as of March 1.”
Maybe the newly licensed legal retailers got….distracted?
The first stores rolled out in November. That means the state has brought in roughly $1.2 million a month in tax revenue. At that pace, the actual tax revenue will be a little over $50 million short of projections. You may be wondering why.
“The projection assumed “a reasonable number” of stores would be open last July, Revenue Commissioner Christopher Harding said in 2017. Instead, the first shops opened in late November, four months later.”
That could be a big one. Also:
“Industry analysts say Massachusetts has a much slower local approval process and a more complex system to navigate than other states, where medical marijuana dispensaries were allowed a simpler process to begin nonmedical sales.”
I for one am shocked that Massachusetts over-complicated something. Next you’ll tell me they threw a huge tax on it:
“Massachusetts imposes a 17 percent tax — a 6.25 percent sales tax plus a 10.75 percent excise tax — and local governments 3 percent, for a total of 20 percent. So far, the taxes that have been collected were put into several buckets: nearly $2 million into the state’s general fund that pays for salaries; $350,000 for the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority; and nearly $300,000 for the School Modernization Fund. Some 75 percent of the pot sold in the state this year will be under the table, according to BDS Analytics, a cannabis market research firm. Several Boston-area marijuana consumers said last month that they would love to buy legal pot, but would wait until the shops could better compete with their dealers on price and convenience.”
Leave it to this state to somehow make buying pot more convoluted than your thought process after you smoke it.
Speaking of pot logic, Deana Martin of Milton, MA was doing her part to simplify the whole sales process, while blatantly breaking the law, of course.
From WHDH Boston:
“A 51-year-old Milton woman was arrested Tuesday for allegedly running a multi-million dollar black-market marijuana delivery service that operated in Massachusetts from 2015 to 2018, United States Attorney Andrew E. Lelling announced.
Deana Martin was charged with one count of conspiring to distribute more than 100 kilograms of marijuana. She appeared in federal court in Boston on Tuesday and was released on $25,000 bond. Martin’s attorney says a not guilty plea will be entered on behalf of his client.”
I love a good perp walk! She definitely looks like the type of 51 year old woman who would sell you a bag of weed, and smoke it with her high school kids because “they’re safer smoking at home with me.”
“Martin owned and managed Northern Herb, which had a website that sold an array of products including raw marijuana, pre-rolled cigarettes, and marijuana edibles, according to a charging document.
While Northern Herb purported to provide medical marijuana, prosecutors allege it did not require a customer to provide proof of a medical marijuana card. It’s also alleged that the business would deliver marijuana to unattended locations where unknown third parties might have access to it.”
Nothing for sale, huh? Didn’t we just do this a week ago? Look, Turtleboy loves weed and hates waiting in line for 3 hours to buy a bag of grass for $70 you could purchase in . But have some respect for those who do it the legal way – either sell your ganja quietly to legal adults you know through word of mouth out of your shitty station wagon, or pay for the proper licensing. It’s universally frowned up to set up shop selling bathtub gin on social media, so this is kind of the same thing. Sure, it’s easier for the consumer to buy on the “black” market, but it’s still illegal. And Northern Herb wasn’t exactly discreet about it, with several locations for distribution and storage located throughout the South Shore and employed 25 people. Over the course of just over 2 years, they raked in $14 million, with Martin making an estimated $80k per month. What did she spend the money on?
“Martin paid more than $300,000 towards the mortgage on her house and to buy a 2017 Porsche Boxster, among other things, according to investigators.”
It’s like a real life episode of HBO’s Weeds, ten years too late.
We’ll forgive WHDH for talking about the Porsche while focusing on what is clearly a Nissan Z. But how does someone who made that much money illegally only get hit with a $25k bond? That’s a week and a half worth of salary to her. The only thing Massachusetts has fucked up more than this pot legalization is the court systems. She’ll have her next batch of pot brownies out of the oven by Tuesday.
My favorite part of this news report was this guy, though.
This is Deana’s son, Nathan Pierre. Tell me he doesn’t look like he’s completely stoned. He’s talking about the charges his mom is facing, but all he can think about is that bag of Doritos and taking a nap.
“As far as I know, and I know my mom obviously, she never did this to hurt anybody or break any laws,” he told 7News. “We did our due diligence trying to get licensed.”
“We were trying to file taxes for the money that we were showing in the bank,” Pierre claimed. “We purposely weren’t hiding anything, as we figured we were operating in a gray space.”
This is why attorneys tell their clients, or in this case their clients’ family, not to talk to the media. I’m no legal expert, but that sounds like an admission of guilt to me. Selling pot without a license is illegal, Natedogg. No license, no selling the grass, that’s the law. Maybe you guys should have slowed your roll at the first $500,000. Aren’t potheads supposed to be about peace and love and living like a broke dirty hippie anyway?
The bottom line here is that selling weed illegally is still a lucrative business. As long as Massachusetts continues to tax it to death and makes it as difficult as possible to obtain licenses for shops to open, you’re still better off calling your reliable hook up than waiting in a 2 hour long line, and financing the irresponsible lifestyle of idiots like this.
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