Adult recreational cannabis is a big business; as more states legalize it, they are collecting large amounts of tax revenues. Adult recreational use of cannabis in New England has been legalized in all but the state of New Hampshire. The latest state to join the legalization effort and become the 20th state to do so was Rhode Island. Rhode Island legalized adult recreational use of cannabis on May 25, 2022. Here is a breakdown of the state's laws and the taxes they are collecting.
Connecticut legalized adult use of cannabis in 2021, becoming the 19th state in the United States to do so. Connecticut state law allows adults 21 and over to legally possess and consume up to 1.5 ounces of marijuana. The state is not allowing recreational users to grow their own plants at home until July 1, 2023. The law allows Connecticut residents to store and transport up to five ounces in a locked container. Connecticut currently doesn't have any open recreational dispensaries, but they do have a wait list for licenses. Connecticut will be charging a recreational use sales tax of 9.35% once the dispensaries are open.
Maine legalized adult-use cannabis in November 2016 with a question on the ballot that passed with a vote of 50.26%. Regulations for commercial sales were not established until 2019. Maine has two programs: medical use and adult recreational use. The state law allows adults twenty-one and older in Maine are permitted to possess 2.5 ounces of marijuana, as well as three mature plants, twelve immature plants, and an unlimited number of seedlings. The law requires all plants to be labeled with the name of the person growing them, a driver's license or ID number, and a label saying that the plant is being grown for personal use. If the land the plants are growing on is not the person growing them, they must have written permission from the landowner to grow the plants on the land. Maine has a recreational use tax of 10%, and Maine government sales data shows July 2022 sales were $16.3 million.
Massachusetts was the first New England state to legalize adult recreational use on November 8, 2016. State law allows Massachusetts residents to possess up to one ounce, and they are allowed to have twelve plants in their homes. There is a recreational sales tax of 6.25% and an excise tax of 10.75%.
New Hampshire only allows medical cannabis use for qualified patients with a medical license card. Medical patients may possess up to two ounces. New Hampshire did decriminalize possession of up to twenty-one grams in 2017 but has not legalized adult recreational use to date.
On May 25, 2022, Rhode Island became the 20th state in the United States to legalize recreational adult use of cannabis. State law allows Rhode Island residents to possess up to an ounce starting on December 1, 2022. Adults twenty-one and older will be able to possess up to ten ounces in their home along with three mature plants.
Vermont went about legalizing adult recreational use differently than the other New England states. Vermont was the first New England state to use the state legislative process rather than put the measure up on the ballot for the voters to decide. Recreational use became legal in 2018 and recreational use dispensaries are allowed to open in October of 2022. Vermont state law allows adults twenty-one and over to possess up to one ounce of cannabis, and they may have two mature plants and four immature plants in their homes. Vermont charges a recreational use sales tax of 6% plus a 14% excise tax. It is illegal, though, to use cannabis in public places in Vermont.