Maine Legislature’s Marijuana Committee Approves Regulatory Bill

AUGUSTA, Maine (WABI) - No marijuana social clubs and no sharing of the state's marijuana tax revenues with communities that host cultivation or retail cannabis sales.

Those were some of the changes made to Maine's adult-use cannabis law.

The Marijuana Legalization Implementation Committee took their final vote Friday on the language of the overhauled bill.

The 17-member panel was forced to reconfigure the legislation after Governor LePage's veto.

The Dept. of Administrative & Financial Services proposed a 21.5% excise tax at wholesale on marijuana products.

Cannabis cultivators would pay $335 in taxes per pound of marijuana sold.

"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," said Rep. Teresa Pierce, (D) Chair, MLI Committee.

"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 little bit on the number of plants that people can own. But basically all of our changes have been designed to make the 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," said Sen. Roger Katz, (R) Chair, MLI Committee.

"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," said Paul McCarrier, President of Legalize Maine.

Some lawmakers say the high tax rate may prevent small cultivators from getting into the market.

Others say the rate is actually much lower than other states with a legal cannabis market.

The bill is expected to reach the full legislature in a few weeks for votes.

It needs two-thirds support to override a potential governor's veto.