AUGUSTA — A 10 percent sales tax is out, a 20 percent sales tax is in and businesses looking to get into the recreational marijuana market have a few more months to wait under proposed revisions to the state’s Marijuana Legislation Act released Tuesday morning.
For months, a group of lawmakers known as the Joint Select Committee on Marijuana Legalization Implementation have waded through the 28-page law narrowly approved in a referendum vote last November.
They’ve come out with a 70-page draft proposal deleting some parts and expanding on others that heads to a public hearing Sept. 26.
The Legislature’s anticipating plenty of interest: It set up two overflow rooms for the hearing.
Among the MLI committee’s proposed changes:
• Increasing the sales tax on adult use marijuana and related products from 10 percent to 20 percent at marijuana stores and social clubs;
• Municipalities would keep 5 percent of the monthly sales tax revenue generated in that city or town by marijuana stores and social clubs;
• 12 percent of the sales tax generated statewide would go to the Adult Use Marijuana Public Health and Safety Fund for public health, education and police;
• It eliminates the cap on the total amount of recreational marijuana that can be grown in the state; and
• Nixes a February 2018 enactment date, instead calling on the the Department of Administrative and Financial Services and the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry to adopt and submit provisional rules around the Marijuana Legislation Act by March 15, 2018, for Legislative review.
DAFS could begin processing applications to open marijuana establishments 30 days after those rules are final.
Legal marijuana is projected to be as much as a $290 million market in Maine by 2020.
This story will be updated