Last week’s marijuana news was a mixed bag for advocates. In Maine, which voted for legalization last November, implementation continues to drag and the law continues to be watered down. A Vermont task force met for the first time to study the issue. And in Colorado, regulations for edible marijuana went into effect. Find out more in our weekly marijuana legislative roundup.
On Thursday, members of the Joint Select Committee on Marijuana Legalization Implementation approved a bill to dramatically change the recreational marijuana law approved by voters in November. The bill would add a 10 percent weight-based excise tax onto the voter-approved 10 percent sales tax. Towns that host cannabis businesses would receive 5 percent of the state taxes collected from each facility located within their boundaries. Each town that hosts such businesses would also receive 1 percent of the state’s total marijuana tax revenue.
Related Story: What To Expect From Maine’s Recreational Marijuana Market
Owners would be allowed to grow up to 12 plants on their property, but municipalities could increase the cap to 18 plants. The bill also allocates some tax revenue to law enforcement and youth prevention, and imposes zoning requirements on marijuana businesses, among other provisions. The legislature is expected to convene a special session to vote on the measure in October.
However, lawmakers fear that Governor Paul LePage, a fierce critic of legalization, will veto the legislation. If lawmakers are unable to obtain a two-thirds majority, the ballot measure approved by voters will become law in January. The implementation of recreational sales has already been pushed back to February 2018 at the earliest.
On Thursday, the commission tasked with studying recreational marijuana in Vermont convened for the first time to discuss the challenges associated with legalization. In May, the Vermont legislature became the first in the nation to pass a cannabis legalization measure. However, Governor Phil Scott vetoed the legislation, citing public safety concerns.
Related Story: What’s Next For Vermont Now That Legal Marijuana Is Dead?
Scott created the Marijuana Advisory Commission to study legalization implementation in other states, and present a report to the governor by January 2018 detailing how the state may address the public health and safety challenges presented by legalization. The Commission will present another report in December 2018 outlining how the state should regulate and tax a future recreational cannabis market.
On Sunday, new rules came into effect that restrict the shape of edibles and the way they are packaged in Colorado. Edibles may no longer be shaped like humans, animals, fruit, or other shapes commonly associated with children’s candy. Additionally, potency information will have to be displayed more prominently on packaging. Colorado has come under criticism for failing to adequately regulate the production and labeling of edibles, which have emerged as a popular means to consume legal cannabis in the state.