Massachusetts residents legalized the use of recreational marijuana for adults when they passed a ballot initiative back in November of 2016. It took some time to get the industry up and running, with the first recreational store in Berkshire County, Theory Wellness opening in January of 2019, but since then it's been off the races.

After seeing how lucrative the adult-use cannabis industry can be, 18 states, plus Washington D.C. and Guam have approved recreational use of the product.

Despite being a huge boom for Massachusetts' economy, from tax revenue to job creation and everything in between, there is still an abundance of critics of the industry. It's never really made a ton of sense to me, especially when there are countless stores where you can purchase alcohol once you're the proper age. Massachusetts has been making money off of alcohol since prohibition was repealed and no one seems to mind that?

In fact, recent reports show that alcohol use, which studies how to have little to no benefits healthwise, has actually gone down slightly since the legalization of recreational cannabis. Not only have more adults stepped away from drinking, which means revenue tides for Massachusetts have turned.

So What Does Massachusetts Make More Money Off Of? Alcohol or Marijuana?

The answer might surprise some, but is a definite indication of changing times. As of January 2022, the marijuana industry has become more lucrative for Massachusetts than alcohol.

According to Fortune, halfway through the current fiscal year, in December of 2021, Massachusetts reported collecting $51.3 million in alcohol excise taxes and $74.2 million in marijuana excise taxes, a difference of about $23 million, and yes, again that's only for six month period.

Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission reports that in total Bay State has collected more than $112 million in tax from recreational marijuana sales in 2021, which ends up being a whopping 206% higher than projected numbers.

In totally since pot shops opened their doors in November of 2018, gross total sales have now reached $2.54 billion with nearly $1 billion of that total coming from 2021.


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