Cigarette wholesalers are lobbying Massachusetts state lawmakers to support legislation that would force a soon-to-be cannabis industry to adopt the regulated infrastructure of the tobacco industry.
Recreational marijuana sales will be legal in Massachusetts in the middle of next year, and companies required by law to track, transport and tax cigarettes are pushing for the same federally-mandated, monopoly power over medical marijuana, the Boston Globe reported Tuesday.
“My members are willing to collect all the taxes on behalf of the state and stamp any marijuana product being distributed for sale,” former state representative and executive director of tobacco trade group Northeast Association of Wholesale Distributors Paul Caron told the Boston Globe. “Rather than reinvent the wheel, let’s use the most successful, proven encrypted tax stamp program we have: the one assigned to cigarettes.”
Opponents are accusing tobacco companies of trapping dispensaries into long-term contracts with wholesale distributors instead of buying directly from producers, an extra expense that would be passed on to consumers.
Massachusetts voted to legalize weed Nov. 8, 2016.