Maine Senate votes to approve recreational marijuana bill

AUGUSTA, Maine (WABI) - The Maine Senate voted Wednesday to support legislation to regulate the state's retail marijuana industry.

It received more than enough votes to exceed the two-thirds majority support it needs to overturn a potential veto from the governor.

The House approved the measure Tuesday with similar bipartisan support.

The bill's sponsor, Senator Roger Katz, says the legislation is a result of compromise from both marijuana proponents and opponents.

It cuts the personal plant count from six to three, and eliminates deliveries and internet sales.

Katz says the legislature should not continue to postpone Maine's adult-use cannabis market.

"Sales of marijuana are going on right now out there. I went to Colorado this past year to study this issue and I see three guys on the corner smoking a joint. I'm thinking is this really what we want in the state of Maine? And then I come back and fly into Portland, get off the plane, go downtown Portland and what do I see? Three guys on the corner smoking a joint. So it's here anyway, it's just a question of whether we're going to do it right and do it in a regulated way and a safe way or whether it's just going to continue in the black market," said Katz, (R) Augusta.

The bill also increases the tax rate from a 10% sales tax to an effective 20% tax and sends 6% of the tax revenue to law enforcement.

The bill faces another round of votes before it can be sent to the governor's desk.