Massachusetts cities and towns collected $2 million in marijuana taxes: Here’s who’s getting it, and how it’s being spent

New England Treatment Access is doing more than selling marijuana to consumers — it is also providing a tax revenue windfall to Northampton and Brookline.

In the quarter that covered February through April, Northampton received $530,589 in tax payments from NETA, bringing its total since the dispensary opened to the recreational market last November to nearly $1 million. NETA only opened in Brookline March 23, and the company paid $214,020 in municipal taxes to Brookline for sales through the end of April.

Northampton Mayor David Narkewicz said he is not counting on this much money going forward. “These early revenues are at the very beginning of this new industry when there is limited supply around the commonwealth,” he said. “The numbers I believe are going to be more significant than when the industry finally gets grown out.”

But the money helps for now. Narkewicz said the initial money will likely be used for one-time expenses — things like building improvements or snow and ice removal. Going forward, Northampton will build the money, conservatively estimated at $1.2 million in fiscal 2020, into its budget to use for schools, public safety, public works and general operations.

As the recreational marijuana industry begins to hit its stride in Massachusetts, cities and towns are beginning to reap the financial benefits. On June 28, the Massachusetts Department of Revenue distributed just over $2 million in marijuana local option taxes to 15 cities and towns that had dispensaries open between February and April.

This is the 3% sales tax cities and towns can place on marijuana retailers. The Department of Revenue collects the money, then returns it to municipalities under the same process used for hotel and meal taxes.

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