The governor has warned lawmakers against having different tax structures for medical and recreational use.
Fear of tax evasion is one reason Gov. Paul LePage wants to veto the adult-use cannabis bill.
The two-term Republican thinks Mainers who aren’t really sick will flock to the medical market because adult-use cannabis would be taxed at a higher rate – an effective tax rate of about 20 percent compared to medical’s 5.5 percent sales tax. LePage has worried that setting up two marijuana programs could lead to tax evasion and black market diversion since voters first legalized recreational marijuana in 2016. He cited it in his veto letter last year, when he scuttled the Legislature’s first adult-use market bill.
“The drafters of this bill chose to ignore the significant effects that this new program – one with different levels of regulatory oversight and a different tax structure – will have on the existing medical marijuana program, its patients and the public health and safety of the Maine people,” he wrote.
He warned lawmakers about “exploitation of loopholes in medical marijuana regulations to