This is NOT a post about the good and bad points of marijuana. Now that the plant is legal, and you have an intention of buying pot this holiday weekend (provided you’re over 21 years of age and are in a legalized state to purchase) you may not be aware of all the hidden fees that await you. First off is the federal and State governmental taxes. These are the taxes the state of Massachusetts charges on each sale:
- Sales Tax: 6.25%
- Local Cannabis Tax: 3%
- Cannabis Excise Tax: 10.75%
- Sales Tax Cannabis: 6.25%
Many store fronts refuse to take credit cards. They want cash or a debit card. If you’re like me and buy most everything with a charge card (to be paid off in full at the end of every month) I didn’t have any cash on me when I bought my first legal cannabis purchase. I had to run my debit card. Sales person informed me that there was a service fee of $3.75 to use my debit card. Unbeknown to me, when I checked my bank account the next day, my bank also charged me an additional $3.00 because after all, they considered the purchase via an ATM card. UGH!
By the time I got out of the store, my $24.95 purchase cost me $36.75 by the time they got through with me. Was it worth it? Well, as a writer and journalist I was just really interested in what the whole procedure of buying pot legally vs via a trusted friend or on a WalMart corner would be like.
Since I was in Massachusetts for a few days and because I also reside in a legalized cannabis selling state, New York, I thought I would give this experience a try. First note of caution: check out the business BEFORE you walk through those doors. I have to admit that some of these places looked shady (i.e. all blacked out windows and in scrubby neighborhoods). I did find one location that was respectable and got an excellent review on Google. Yes, Google reviewed this property. It is a business, after all, right?
As I walked into the building, before I got anywhere I was stopped outside the building by this very strong looking gentleman who had a goatee that really made him look as if he were a goat. He said I couldn’t go inside until he scanned some identification, preferably my drivers license. I wasn’t prepared for that so naturally, I didn’t have my drivers license because I don’t drive myself anymore. Hubby does all the driving. Hubby absolutely refused to show anyone his drivers license nor have it scanned. Me? I was determined to experience this experience. So, I went back and got my driver’s license and then returned to goatee man.
Once that was done, he hit a b button to announce inside that a single purchase, walk-in customer was on her way (that was me). He hit the security buzzer on the door and I entered the building. Oh, before I go any further, let me back up for a minute. When we first drove to this business, I lost the directions on my phone right before the last few blocks. “No problem” said my husband. “Just roll your windows down and see if you can smell it“. So, I rolled down my passenger side window and sure enough, the outside air reeked of pot. I think we got high just pulling into the driveway.
Ok. So now I am inside the building. I had to go through a vestibule with a man behind a glass window, of which you knew you were being recorded. I was instructed to go down the center aisle. The right aisle was for online pick-ups (you can order anything online). The left aisle was for medical. When I looked over to the medical line, there were a few people who were in very bad shape. Mostly elderly, on canes, walkers and most had arms and hands that were shaking. You could clearly see these people were ill. And if the cannabis were to give them any relief, then God bless them.
The building I was in was the sales building. Across the way was the hydroponic factory, where they grew the pot. The whole area just smelled of pot. It was quite funny. Almost a comedy sketch inside it self. Everything was immaculate, orderly and in precision form. You knew instantly (at least I did) that this was BIG business. The sales room was filled with super large TV screens and videos were playing on how to cook vegetables with cannabis, how to bake with cannabis, what products were available (creams, lotions, gummies, joints, chocolate bars, high energy drinks……. in-house badder, chews, tinctures, and distillates)
The Google review told me that the staff was very helpful. When it was my turn I told the sales clerk that this was my first visit ever to a cannabis store. The Google review was correct. The sales person WAS very helpful. We discussed my proficiency and intention. The sales clerk put up some products on my individual screen that might suit my needs. I settled on gummies because that’s what my friends told me they bought. They recommended the 5mg first before going any higher. The sales clerk agreed. She told me to try half a gummy at first. Wait a half hour and see how I felt. Each gummy was supposed to last at least 6 to 7 hours.
I’m a child of the 60s, so I’ve been smoking pot since my college days. And NO I never tried any other drug nor did my pot use get me to try any other drug. I always thought that since pot is a naturally grown plant, it’s better than any concoction that can be created in a lab. I just prefer natural things. And NO I am NOT promoting anything to anybody. But since more and more states are legalizing cannabis, I was just curious to see what it was all about.
I did what the sales person told me to do. I ingested half a gummy. Waited a half hour. Felt a slight buzz. Took the other half and then nothing. I truly felt I had wasted my money. The glass pipe, however, I used when I got back to my organic (legal) stash. That worked out better. My advice for those who do want to buy weed, buy it from a reputable, legal store and not from some junkie standing on a corner lot. There’s a lot of illegal fentanyl out there and buyers must now truly beware. It’s dangerous in the real world. It’s a Federal and State government’s wet dream to garner as much money away from you (in taxes) that they can. At least, however, with the legal authorities you’ll be safe from dangerous drugs. And maybe that means something. Maybe that’s a must-needed point.
Stay safe. Perhaps that can of beer, glass of wine or margarita mix doesn’t seem so passe’ anymore.
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