Massachusetts Ballot Questions 2017: Sales Tax on Alcohol

Last time around the Massachusetts ballot questions covered hot topic issues like dog racing, state personal tax and marijuana. Now Massachusetts residents are faced with ballot questions regarding sales tax on alcohol. Read about Massachusetts Ballot Question 1, its supporters, opponents and the money behind the question. Included is information about alcohol sales tax in other states. Inform yourself before you vote.

Massachusetts Ballot Questions 2017: Question 1: Sales Tax on Alcoholic Beverages

Brief History: The current 6.25% tax on alcohol and alcoholic beverages sold in package stores is fairly new. The Massachusetts State Legislature removed the previous tax exemption on the alcohol sales. At the same time, they increased Massachusetts sales tax from 5% to 6.25%.

Sales Tax on Alcohol

States and Retail Alcohol Tax

Currently there are only five other states that don’t charge tax on alcohol according to the Boston Globe. They are Alaska, Delaware, Montana, New Hampshire, and Oregon.

With its 2009 sales tax on alcohol, Massachusetts joined Illinois, Kentucky, New Jersey, New York and North Carolina, five other states that also passed retail sales tax laws in the same year.

You can compare state sales tax on alcohol with this chart from the Tax Foundation.

Voting yes on Question 1 would remove the sales tax. Proponents of voting yes say the tax is a double tax because consumers already pay excise tax. Small business owners, particularly those near the New Hampshire border would also benefit from the repeal of the tax. The tax is seen as a “sin tax” akin to the taxes on cigarettes. Because the tax came at the same time as the sales tax increase, consumers and businesses may have felt it hit them too hard.

Who is in favor of voting Yes on Question 1?

Sometimes the supporters of a ballot question give voters an insight into the benefits and drawbacks of the question. The following groups support voting yes on question 1, to repeal the sales tax on alcoholic beverages.

Vote Yes on One Committee
The Massachusetts Package Stores Association

Follow the Money: Groups That Have Contributed to the Vote Yes on One Campaign according to the Massachusetts Office of Campaign amp; Election Finance.


Marijuana Vending Machines in Los Angeles


For millions of chronic pain sufferers, there’s a glimmer of hope for immediate relief of symptoms, albeit with one foot in a jail cell. Los Angeles has become the first city in the nation to sell medical marijuana from vending machines, whether or not the federal government agrees. Under current federal law, the legalized use of marijuana is prohibited, and the vending machines across the county have outraged many of it’s citizens.

The dispensers were invented by attorney Vincent Mehdizadeh and placed in various locations under the guise that they will be convenient for users. However, federal law prohibits the use of such dispensaries, yet California state legislators have ignored the warnings from the Feds and DEA.
Marijuana Vending Machine
To use the vending machines, a patient must first obtain permission from a medical doctor. This is not too hard to get, as valid reasons are vague and ambiguous for the necessity of marijuana, ranging from simple aches and pains to loss of appetite. And there are no prescriptions involved, but rather a “recommendation” is issued. There are dozens of “Pot Docs” at your service in L.A., even providing a toll free number for registration at 888-POT-DOCS. Once approval is granted, the patient registers for a marijuana card with a screening service, who will also take a fingerprint to be used for positive identification at the machines.

A biometric fingerprint scan, along with a slip of paper is all that’s required for a weekly dosage of 1/8 to 2/8 of an ounce of marijuana. Using a pre paid card, customers may choose from Platinum Kush, Bubba Kush, Purple Kush, Wild Cherry and Fire O.G.

The vending machine, resembling a soda machine, drops the pot like a can of Coke, under the watchful eyes of security guards. However, robberies are a factor, not only with the machines, but to the customers leaving the premises with the pot.

Californians have expressed an outrage over this dangerous trend, but the legislative powers have chosen to ignore it’s people as well as the federal government. These machines are declared illegal by the Feds, and California has pushed through the warnings in criminal defiance. As for the stoner at the machine, who knows if they will be caught and tried, but so far, business is booming and the vending machines are spreading across the county.

Business from the vending machines has seen a steady incline in sales as stoners across state lines are flocking to the friendly cannabis corners. As this crime on a federal level flourishes, a lesson may be learned to the rest of the nation to keep a vigilant watch for law makers who would sneak past the federal government to legalize drugs. California is a trend setter for the country, and the old saying is true: “As goes California, so goes the nation”.