Lawmakers debate how high to go with tax on marijuana
State lawmakers are debating how much they can tax recreational marijuana without driving consumers back to the black market. On Wednesday, the lawmakers charged with crafting Maine’s marijuana regulatory system struggled to find that sweet spot of taxing enough to pay for the cost of enforcing the law and some drug prevention, and hopefully making the state at least some money, but not taxing it so much that consumers will still buy their marijuana from a street dealer.
In the legalization ballot measure approved last fall, voters supported a 10 percent tax on recreational marijuana, but most lawmakers seem to dismiss that as too low. Instead, members of the marijuana legalization committee appeared to prefer a combination of sales and excise taxes that would be at least twice as high, or 20 percent, with some wanting to go even higher.
The committee hopes to have a bill by the end of the month that will create the overall regulatory structure, including setting the tax rates, licensing criteria, cultivation limits