A special legislative committee has approved its second bill to create rules for the recreational marijuana market in Maine. The bill contains several concessions designed to win the support of Gov. Paul LePage and other Republicans, who scuttled the initial effort last year.
Reps agree that the bill isn’t perfect. Critics of the measure passed in committee worry that it falls short of creating a viable regulated marijuana market that can compete with, and eventually diminish, a thriving underground cannabis trade.
“I mean there’s no question there’s a lot to dislike in this bill,” says Rep. Erik Jorgensen, a Portland Democrat. “There’s a lot to like in this bill. Have we made progress, have we made progress? I think that’s definitely true.”
Among the key provisions is a 10 percent tax rate on retail sales and a 21.5 percent rate on wholesale sales. The state’s finance agency says this complex tax scheme will yield a 20 percent effective rate and bring in more than $16 million in tax revenue by fiscal year 2021.
While some elements drew broad support, others