Both the Maine House and Senate have voted on H.P 1199 L.D 1719 and after several changes to the bill the passed it. This bill only needs to be signed into law by the Governor of Maine Paul Lepage. He has 10 days to sign it or veto it. Gov. Lepage has vowed to veto the bill even though it passed with a number of votes that could easy over turn a veto. As the goal prior to sending the bill to the Governor that it should be veto proof. How did they make it veto proof? The made the bill a money grab and reduced the rights the bill allowed. Hoping that would entice the Governor into signing the bill.
The newly amendment bill changes several things from the original bill that Mainers voted for. Some of the biggest changes are a higher tax rate from 10% to 20%. Along with increasing excise taxes on the seeds, mature plants, and on bud/extracts that will be levied at the growers of adult use cannabis that will trickle down the the consumer. This also strips down the rights of Mainers to grow their own cannabis by reducing the plant count allowed from 6 mature plants to 3 mature plants. It also removes the provision to allow cannabis social clubs a place for people to gather and use cannabis. To read the bill yourself follow the link to the Maine State Legislator at the bottom of this post.
What then is governor Lepage have against the bill? Well as it was reported in The Maine Press Herald, “LePage has been pushing more consolidation of the medical and recreational industries. If the pending adult-use bill becomes law, Maine would tax recreational cannabis at an effective rate of 20 percent while taxing medical marijuana at a much lower rate of 5.5 percent, or 8 percent for medical edibles. LePage believes the tax differential would encourage recreational marijuana users to use medical marijuana instead of the adult-use market to save money.”
So if someone qualifies for medical cannabis and would save money on the taxes and that is what he has a problem with. The bill was changed to be a money grab by the state compared to what Mainers voted on and the new bill just does not seem to take enough money from people. This is actually extremely revealing in his motivations and it is honestly scary.
A few points against this thought that the medical program will not prevent the adult use program from making money. Not everyone qualifies for medical cannabis. Not everyone will want to go through the process of getting a medical card even if they do qualify. Maine is a tourist state; tourist all will pay the adult use taxes on their cannabis. Lepage is just being extra greedy on a bill that was changed to be a money grab by the state. The bill already increased the tax from 10% to 20% the tourist will pay a lot already. Stop being so greedy over a plant!
Maine might stay in our limbo of having passed adult use cannabis laws but without the ability to legally purchase adult use cannabis. If Lepage does veto the new adult use cannabis bill the numbers in the House and Senate that voted for this bill could over turn Lepage’s veto, but that is still more time and more delays in the implementation of the adult use cannabis bill.
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Maine State Legislator:
Portland Press Herald: