Mashpee could net up to $4.5 million a year if the town hosts the only recreational pot shop on Cape Cod, based on projections provided by Town Manager Rodney C. Collins.
Mr. Collins presented his findings Monday, February 13, to the Mashpee Board of Selectmen following a decision by the board last month to put the question to voters whether they want to host recreational marijuana facilities.
Mr. Collins wanted to make sure voters knew the information about the possible creation of revenue for the town before deciding the question.
“I know that there are those that are morally or politically opposed [to hosting recreational marijuana shops],” Mr. Collins said. “That’s fine, but we’ve identified a financial crunch coming. I would be remiss to come up with proposed solutions to resolve that without reducing staff levels or our level of services that we’ve grown accustomed to.”
The $4.5 million projection is based on a year-round Cape population of 220,000 with an additional 131,000 in the summer, and on a scenario in which no other recreational store existed on Cape Cod.
He projected 33,000 users would purchase 330,000 ounces of marijuana per year, which he based on statistics from states with legal recreational use (10 ounces per person a year). With a cost of $400 per ounce and a sales tax of 2 percent in the current state law, that would equal $2.6 million in revenue for the town. With a 3 percent tax, now under consideration by the state Legislature, that would be $3.9 million.
With the addition of 131,000 people to the Cape during the summer months, Mr. Collins’s predictions increase to $3 million with the 2 percent tax and $4.5 million with the 3 percent tax.
Mr. Collins also provided projections based purely on Mashpee residents and summer residents and projected $184,500 with a 2 percent tax and $276,800 at 3 percent.
The selectmen were receptive to his proposal and have asked the town’s legal counsel to draft new options for voters at Town Meeting.
Last month, the board decided to pursue an article for Town Meeting that would give voters an opportunity to vote on a townwide ballot to “opt out” of hosting pot retail stores in Mashpee.
On Monday, the board gave Mr. Collins the task of looking into articles for Town Meeting that would allow a limited number of retail shops in town in addition to the complete “opt-out” option.
Under the ballot question passed by Massachusetts voters in November, the town could limit the number of recreational stores by the percentage of liquor stores in town, completely “opt out” of hosting recreational stores, or limit them to the area set aside for medical marijuana facilities.
Medical Marijuana of Massachusetts has begun construction of a medical marijuana facility on Echo Road in Mashpee. The facility already has been approved by town regulatory boards.
According to a memo sent to the town from James Vaccaro, director of Medical Marijuana, construction will be complete in May this year. He expects that the facility could provide medical marijuana by October of this year.
No company representative attended the selectmen’s meeting on Monday. When Mr. Collins was asked if Medical Marijuana has looked at providing recreational marijuana at the Mashpee location, Mr. Collins said that he could not speak for them but it is a “possibility on the horizon.”