Maine panel signs off on rewrite of recreational cannabis law

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Maine’s recreational marijuana law underwent a rewrite by a legislative committee this week that could spell major changes for the program, including an increased tax rate and a two-year residency requirement to own a rec shop.

But Maine Gov. Paul LePage hasn’t expressed much enthusiasm about adult-use marijuana, and committee members are concerned he’ll veto or delay the implementation of the bill, according to the Portland Press Herald.

A final draft of the legislation is expected to be finished by Oct. 10.

Major provisions of the bill include:

  • A 10% excise tax based on weight and a 10% sales tax.
  • A residency requirement under which applicants for adult-use marijuana licenses must have lived in Maine for at least two years.
  • A zoning requirement under which rec marijuana facilities couldn’t be located within 1,000 feet of a school. A town would have the authority to reduce the limit to 500 feet.

In addition, businesses with both medical marijuana and recreational licenses would be able to cultivate and process both forms of cannabis in the same building – but not the same area at the same time.

Scuttled were the provisions that would have allowed: a one-time transfer of medical plants into the recreational market; internet and drive-thru sales; and the conversion of medical marijuana dispensaries from nonprofits to for-profit businesses.