With the Internet droning on endlessly about the Clinton / Trump debate I thought I would focus on a ballot initiative that will be on several states this fall: the legalization of marijuana for recreational use.
Currently Alaska, Colorado, Oregon and Washington (as well as Washington, D.C.) allows the recreational use of marijuana. In November five more states will ask residents to vote on making the sale of marijuana legal to buy and sell for recreational use (including Massachusetts).
According to 24/7 Wall St., Massachusetts voters have a good chance of voting to legalize marijuana, and if legalized, Massachusetts is estimated to reap as much as $187 million in new tax revenues. Massachusetts projected tax revenues pale in comparison to the $1+ billion California could reap, but nearly $200 million ain’t exactly chump change and could go a long way to funding that pesky Green Line extension everyone says we need but cannot seem to afford to build.
Yes on 4: Massachusetts Marijuana Legalization
Earlier this month the Boston Business Journal had an excellent article addressing the antiquated or to use the BBJ’s lingo, “Puritanical”, approach to regulating liquor licenses in Massachusetts. Apparently even our Governor agrees because Baker has filed legislation as part of a municipal modernization bill to allow cities and towns set their own quota for restaurants licensed to serve alcohol. That portion of the governor’s bill (H 3906) was pending before the Committee on Municipalities and Regional Government when I wrote this.
Although I’m not hopeful, I’d love to see this antiquated process revamped. I don’t know if it is true, but I was once told that our liquor licensing process is the result of Hugh O’Brien being sworn in as Boston’s first Irish mayor back in 1895. As the story goes, shortly after his swearing in the Brahmin community used their influence to have legislation passed so the city of Boston couldn’t turn into a giant pub (dare to dream) and would give the authority of granting liquor licenses to the State House where Protestants still maintained control. I can’t imagine this was true, but as a gay man, I can’t tell you how often I’ve seen senseless, vindictive legislation so I wouldn’t write it off either.
If you’d like to read the BBJ article, which inspired this post, link here.
Standing in stark contrast to North Carolina (boo, hiss) Massachusetts State Senate on Thursday approved a bill that would ban discrimination against transgender people in public accommodations. You may recall this was the source of much discontent at last month’s Boston Spirit Magazine, LGBT Executive Networking Night when keynote speaker, Gov. Charlie Baker, was booed off the stage because he wouldn’t come out in support of the bill.
The legislation expands a 2011 state law that previously banned discrimination against transgender people in the workplace and housing. The legislation now heads to the MA House where it is expected to pass and will put MA in good company, joining 17 other states and D.C. that have already banned discrimination against transgender people in public accommodations.
Hat tip to David over at WGB where I first read about this.
In July 2007 then Governor Deval Patrick signed into law the Massachusetts Film Tax Credit, to encourage movie producers from Hollywood and around the world to film here. Since then it seems like Boston in particular has been overrun with both TV and Film production crews, although in fairness some very prominent films that feature Boston predate the tax credit like the 1970s romance Love Story and a personal favorite the 1997 Good Will Hunting.
Although it has been controversial, I am in favor of keeping the Massachusetts Film Tax Credit and despite the occasional inconvenience of film crews closing off streets, I think it is really cool to see parts of my home city featured in films – even when it is supposedly some place else (usually NYC).
Well over 100 movies and TV episodes have been filmed since the 2007 tax credit including: The Proposal with Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds (2009); The Fighter with Mark Wahlberg and Christian Bale (2010), The Town with Ben Affleck (2010), TED with Seth McFarlane and Mark Wahlberg (2012); The Heat with Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy (2013); American Hustle with Christian Bale, Amy Adams and Bradley Cooper (2013); Spotlight with Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton and Rachel McAdams (2015); and Ghostbusters 3 with Chris Hemsworth, Melissa McCarthy and Kristen Wiig (2016).
In an age where politicians from different political parties barely acknowledge each other, Boston’s Mayor Marty Walsh and Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker have what appears to be a healthy and productive working relationship. Late yesterday, “Hello Gov, it’s Marty” Adele Spoof, a video hosted on Vimeo started making its rounds and was picked up by boston.com.
The video celebrates with more than a bit of humor their wooing of GE to move their world headquarters to Boston.
Earlier this week it was reported that marijuana sales in Colorado topped $1 billion in 2015. That is an increase in revenue of nearly 45% from about $700 million in the previous year.
So my question to residents in Massachusetts is twofold: first do you believe the reputation of Colorado has been somehow tainted and is now a less desirable place to live or visit because of the legalization of marijuana? Second, do you think our state can afford NOT to sell marijuana?
Q: If MA sold $1b in marijuana, how much tax revenue would it generate?
A: $62,500,000 (based on MA 6.25% sales tax)
Presumably the sale of marijuana in Massachusetts would be subject to more than our 6.25% sales tax much like cigarettes have additional taxes. Think about how much money we’d generate from the sale of marijuana and square that with the fact that we can’t find the money we need to invest in our infrastructure, improve our schools or make our state universities more affordable.
I have no idea how I missed this video when it came out earlier this year, but much thanks to @LargeTony for bringing this to my attention. It gave me a good laugh as it will for anyone who has lived in Massachusetts.