Controlled Substance Tax

Learn about controlled substance tax which is imposed on illegal sales of marijuana and controlled substances.

A controlled substance tax is imposed on illegal sales of marijuana and controlled substances as defined in Massachusetts General Laws: Chapter 64K, Section 1 at the following rates:

  • $3.50 on each gram of marijuana (or each part of a gram),
  • $200.00 on each gram of controlled substance (or each part of a gram)
  • $2,000.00 on each fifty dosage units of a controlled substance that is not sold by weight (or a part thereof)

The controlled substance tax is not imposed on legal sales of marijuana by a marijuana establishment licensed by the Cannabis Control Commission. Such sales are instead subject to marijuana retail taxes.

When a dealer

  • Purchases,
  • Acquires,
  • Transports, or
  • Imports

marijuana or controlled substances into Massachusetts the dealer must immediately have a marking permanently attached (if such a marking is not already in place). Each stamp or other official marking must be used only once.

Official stamps, labels, or other markings must be purchased from the Commissioner. The purchaser must pay 100% of face value for each official stamp, label, or other marking at the time of such purchase.

The controlled substances tax is due and payable immediately upon acquisition or possession in Massachusetts by a dealer.

Note: In 1998 the Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) ruled that assessment of the controlled substances tax on a person convicted criminally of illegal possession of marijuana or controlled substances constituted impermissible double jeopardy under the United States Constitution. That SJC decision held that the Fifth Amendment does not prevent imposition of the tax, but rather it restricts the ability of the Commonwealth to assess the tax against those who have suffered criminal penalties for the same possession of marijuana or controlled substances. Visit Commissioner of Revenue v. Mullins (1998) 702 N.E.2d 1, 428 Mass. 406.

Contact DOR's Miscellaneous Excise Tax Unit at (617) 887-5090 with any questions. 

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