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Connecticut To Join Massachusetts, Vermont As Higher-Tax State For Marijuana

Mass Alternative Care in Chicopee, Massachusetts, sells marijuana for medical and recreational use.
Mass Alternative Care in Chicopee, Massachusetts, sells marijuana for medical and recreational use.

When Governor Ned Lamont, as expected, signs a bill legalizing marijuana for recreational use in Connecticut, the retail tax rate would be at the high end for states in the Northeast.

Cannabis will be subject to three different taxes in Connecticut: the standard state sales tax, a local tax collected by communities with dispensaries, and an excise tax based on the THC potency of a product.

All told, that adds up to a roughly 20% tax for consumers, according to the Legislature’s research, an estimate confirmed by DeVaughn Ward with the Marijuana Policy Project. His organization opposed the potency surcharge.

“There’s not really a lot evidence to see how it plays out,” Ward said.

But, he said, the overall tax rate should keep Connecticut competitive with its neighbors.

“The compromise reached in the Legislature here in Connecticut is a good compromise, considering where we started,” Ward said.

New York has also instituted a tax tied to potency, but it’s paid by cultivators.

Six states in the Northeast have — or plan to have — retail marijuana markets. Connecticut's tax rate is among the highest in the region. The taxes paid directly by consumers in Massachusetts and Vermont are also at about 20%.

Maine, New York and New Jersey have all set significantly lower rates.

New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Pennsylvania have not authorized recreational sales of marijuana, although all permit medicinal sales.

Sam Hudzik contributed to this report.

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