Following a few changes, a regulatory bill has finally been approved by Maine’s Marijuana Legalization Implementation Committee. No social clubs will be permitted. Sharing of state marijuana tax revenues in communities hosting cultivation and retail marijuana sales will not be permitted without opting in.
After Governor LePage vetoed previous legislation, the panel was forced to conduct a complete overhaul, according to WABI 5 News. The final vote took place on February 24. Cultivators will be expected to pay a $335 tax per pound of sold marijuana. A 21.5-percent wholesale excise tax will be imposed on marijuana products.
Representative Teresa Pierce said, “I think what we wanted to do was provide a tax structure that didn’t have everything at the point of purchase that also had an excise tax. An excise tax allows the state to be able to prepare and understand how much will be coming in in a more consistent way.”
Senator Roger Katz said, “We made a few changes. We’ve put the entire regulation of this new industry under the Department of Administrative & Financial Services, that’s fine. We’ve also moved the medical program, leaving it completely intact, but moved that over to the same agency. We’ve cut down a bit on the number of plants that people can own. But basically all of our changes have been designed to make a bill a little bit more manageable for Maine people and also try to get enough votes that we’re actually going to get it across the finish line.”
Paul McCarrier, President of Legalize Maine, said, “They allowed the opt-in for municipalities, which I know is important to a lot of people. But they did not put in any sort of limit on the commercial cultivation of cannabis, and then they also cut the personal grow of cannabis from six plants to three.”
A few lawmakers are concerned about the high tax rate proposed to cultivators. Some fear it will keep smaller cultivators from entering the industry. Others argue that proposed rate is lower than other marijuana-legal states.
Within the next few weeks, the regulatory bill will be in the hands of the full legislature for a vote. To prevent another veto, the bill must have at least two-thirds majority support.