Mass. Sheriffs: Raise pot tax, use money for addiction treatment

BOSTON (AP) – Massachusetts sheriffs are urging lawmakers to consider increasing the tax on retail marijuana sales and earmark the additional revenue for substance abuse prevention and treatment.

The proposal was discussed on Monday during the final hearing held by a special legislative committee that is reviewing the voter-approved law that legalized recreational marijuana.

Hampshire County Sheriff Patrick Cahillane says he expects legalized marijuana to lead to an increased demand for addiction services.

The current law calls for a 3.75 percent excise tax on marijuana on top of the state’s 6.25 percent sales tax.

The Senate chairwoman of the marijuana committee, Somerville Democrat Patricia Jehlen, has been skeptical of raising marijuana taxes. But she says many lawmakers appear receptive to dedicating some revenues from the tax to substance abuse programs.

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