The end of pot prohibition is nigh, and Maine is just one of several states looking to take advantage of the nation’s green gold rush.
After Colorado legalized recreational marijuana in 2014, the state was able to boast that its tax revenue had surpassed even their most ambitious targets due to the massive influx of small business and weed tourism. This came as no surprise to the people of Colorado, who had voted for such freedoms all the way back in 2012. Now, as more and more locales around the nation turn to legal marijuana as a cash crop, there emerge a number of ways in which a state government can benefit from the boom. Maine is looking to do just that as they begin their own legalization adventure.
“In November, legalization of recreational marijuana was approved. Possession of recreational marijuana became legal this year, while the Legislature pushed back the legalization until at least February.
“The referendum included licensing fees as well as a 10 percent tax on sales by retail marijuana stores and social clubs.
“But nothing’s been decided yet, said Pierce, who added there may be a special session in October for a vote on a final bill. Committee co-chair Republican Sen. Roger Katz said the committee is meeting often and hopes to wrap up its work by September. The Legislature approved $200,000 for the committee and $1.4 million to the state for the costs of putting together marijuana regulations, including consultants.
“Meanwhile, medical marijuana dispensaries and advocacy groups so far this year have reported spending more than $265,000 on lobbyists to sway officials. Legalize Maine has reported spending $32,000, while Maine Professionals for Regulating Marijuana has reported spending nearly $85,000.”
Much like the sin taxes on cigarettes and alcohol, marijuana users will likely fork over whatever Maine decides to tack on for themselves.
The versatility of the plant, along with the incredible small business boom that legalization brings with it, have many advocates of marijuana believing that wholesale national legalization would be a tremendous boon to the American economy. Not only that, but in areas where legal or decriminalized pot has been allowed, the rate at which Americans abuse addicting opioids has dramatically decreased.