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US (MA): More than $2 billion sales since legalization adult-use cannabis

Five years after voters in Massachusetts opted to legalize adult-use cannabis, the state’s industry has surpassed $2 billion in sales. There are 176 retailers across the Bay State where customers can buy a selection of flower, edibles, topicals, and more.

“It’s been a success in creating new tax revenue and new jobs and it’s been a success in giving local communities a new stream of tax money,” Borghesani said. “We’ve seen no increase in teen use. We’ve seen not a single incident of a sale to a minor. We’ve seen no increased crime around the cannabis facilities. We’ve seen no diminishment in business value or customer access around the locations. In other words, we’ve seen none of the negative repercussions that opponents were advocating during the legalization campaign,” Jim Borghesani, who was the spokesman of the “Yes on 4″ initiative to legalize cannabis, said. 

Successes so far, however, don’t mean there aren’t still obstacles to overcome: “Within the industry, we’ve seen challenges. We haven’t seen enough equity members of the industry come in, and that’s really a structural problem. It reflects both access to capital and an onerous local approval process for which I completely blame the legislature,” Borghesani said.

“I think Massachusetts has led the way on ownership and control limits and set a model for what federal legalization could do to minimize the risk of monopoly,” Shaleen Title, of Ohio State University’s Drug Enforcement and Policy Center and also a former Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commissioner, said. “I also think we’ve emphasized inclusion and restorative justice, but it remains to be seen whether that translates to concrete results.” 

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