Maine became the eighth state to legalize marijuana in 2016. Since then, lawmakers have been in discussion on how to best put the law into effect in 2018. But what can you expect from Maine’s recreational marijuana market? They’re still in deliberation, however, and have only until September to come up with a final draft.
When voted in, the law called for a 10% cannabis tax for adults 21 and over to possess 2.5 ounces at a time. After many sessions and meetings, the current proposed legislation is to bring the taxes up to the 20% range and to give municipalities more control over over the market.
The special legislative panel that’s overseeing how all these details are applied have conducted a series of ad hoc votes on different aspects of Maine’s program, including the tax hike. As they test out popular opinion, they come closer to that September consensus.
Maine isn’t the first to ponder tax rates. If too low, the revenue isn’t anything to boast about, but if the taxes are too high, marijuana users are bound to go back to the black market. Massachusetts recently set their tax rate at 20% and Colorado just changed their taxes to 2.9% sales tax and 15% cannabis tax.
In Maine, where the tax revenue shall go is still being discussed, but on the table is mainly public health.
Another rule to the law is that you must be at least a six month long Maine resident to grow or sell. This keeps companies from coming in and monopolizing the market before the local growers have a chance to build their legal community and businesses.
Also, in a big move, cultivation caps have been removed, which protects cultivators, basically saying the more the merrier! No caps on crops or growers is a major victory.
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Even though this all sounds pretty good, we can expect more debates on these moneys down the pike. Once the revenue’s coming in there are plenty who want a say as to where it goes. Lawmakers are chomping at the bit for healthcare research, substance abuse programs and even offsetting income taxes.
It’s estimated that once everyone’s open for business in 2018 that Maine could bring in $29 million dollars annually – if they stick to the 20%. For now, more straw polls will be conducted until the law’s solidification and Mainers should have a firm idea of what their new pot laws entail by the end of summer.