Lawmakers in Maine are seeking to add a 10 percent excise tax on retail cannabis sales, bringing the total rate on adult-use cannabis products to 20 percent when paired with the 10 percent sales tax, according to a Sept. 11 letter from legislative leaders. The draft bill was unveiled in the letter from Sen. Roger Katz, Senate chair, and Rep. Teresa Pierce, House chair, to the members of the Joint Select Committee on Marijuana Legalization Implementation.

In the letter, officials said the decision was a consensus made by the committee over the “past number of months” and that leaving the determination of the excise tax rate to Maine Revenue Services or the Department of Administrative and Financial Services could implicate Article IX, section 9 of the state constitution which states, “The Legislature shall never, in any manner, suspend or surrender the power of taxation.”

The officials also expressed concern over allowing dispensaries currently operating as not-for-profits to convert to for-profit corporations. The authors conclude that Part B of the proposal will allow for the conversion, as desired by current operators, but that the “merits of the proposal is outside the jurisdiction” of the committee.

“Although this language is included in the bill draft, we intend to advocate for its removal during the work session,” the letter states.

A public hearing on the proposal is set for Sept. 26, with work sessions planned the two following days.

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