Maine Bill Would Almost Double Marijuana Tax Rate

Legislation filed in the Maine Legislature would significantly increase the tax rate for legal marijuana sales.

Filed by State Representative Matthew Moonen, Legislative Document 1946 has been assigned to the House Taxation Committee in the House and the Senate Taxation Committee in the Senate.

The proposed law would increase the tax rate for marijuana sales from 5.5%, to 10%. The change would take effect on October 1 of this year.
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Louisiana Marijuana Expungement Bill Passed by House 69 to 30

Louisiana’s full House of Representatives has passed a bill to allow for the quick expungement of marijuana possession convictions.

House Bill 286 was passed yesterday 69 to 30 through the House of Representatives, sending it to the Senate for consideration. The proposal allows those with a misdemeanor conviction for marijuana possession to file a motion to expunge the charge 90 days following their conviction. First-time offenders would be exempt from processing fees.

The measure was filed by Representative Delisha Boyd with 22 cosponsors.
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Oregon: $1 Billion in Marijuana Taxes Made Since Start of Legal Sales

Oregon has made roughly $1 billion in tax revenue from legal marijuana, according to data released by the Oregon Liquor and Cannabis Commission.

Since the start of legal marijuana sales in October, 2016, the state has made $952 million in tax revenue from the legal distribution of $5.6 billion worth of marijuana and marijuana products. This does not count the over $80 million in additional tax revenue garnered by cities who have established a local tax, meaning the total marijuana tax revenue garnered throughout Oregon is now over $1 billion.

Oregon marijuana stores sold $80,748,638 worth of marijuana in April, roughly on par with the $81 million sold in March but a decrease from the $90 million sold in April, 2022.

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Legislation Filed in US House to Direct VA to Research Medical Cannabis

Legislation that directs the Secretary of Veterans Affairs “to conduct and support research on the efficacy and safety of medicinal cannabis” was filed this week in the US House of Representatives

House Bill 3584 was filed by Congressmember Mariannette Miller-Meeks, a Republican from Iowa. The measure has been assigned to the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs.

According to its title, the measure is designed “To direct the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to conduct and support research on the efficacy and safety of medicinal cannabis, and for other purposes.”
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Ohio Bill to Legalize Marijuana Filed in State House, Given Committee Assignment

Legislation to legalize marijuana in Ohio has been given an official committee assignment in the House of Representatives.

House Bill 168 was filed on May 8 by State Representative Jamie Callender along with 11 cosponsors. Interestingly Callender is a Republican, whereas all 11 cosponsors are Democrats. Today the measure received its first committee assignment – the House Finance Committee.

House Bill 168 would create a legalized and regulated market for recreational marijuana. Those 21 and older would be able to purchase and possess up to five ounces of marijuana flower, 15 grams of hash, eight grams of marijuana concentrates like oil and wax, and they could grow up to 12 plants for personal use.
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California Made Over $215 Million in Marijuana Taxes in Q1, 2023

According to data released by the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration, California Made $216 million in tax revenue from legal marijuana between January and April of this year.

As of May 16 California made $216.2 million from the legal distribution of roughly $1.2 billion worth of marijuana and marijuana products including hash, tinctures and edibles. $104.3 million came from the state’s marijuana excise tax, while $111.9 million came from the state sales tax.

The $216 million made in Q1, 2023 is a 12% decrease from the $248 million made during the same quart last year. It’s also less than the $320 million made in Q1, 2021, but is roughly on part with the $218 million in Q1, 2020, and more than the $131 million made in Q1, 2019.
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North Carolina Marijuana Legalization Effort Sponsored by 21 Lawmakers

Last month legislation to make recreational marijuana legal in North Carolina was passed through its first reading and given a committee assignment in the House of Representatives. Since then, the bill has garnered 10 additional sponsors.

House Bill 626 was filed on April 17 by State Representative Johnnie Autry along with three cosponsors. A little over a month later although the bill has yet to advance out of the House Rules, Calendar, and Operations Committee, 10 additional lawmakers have signed on to officially sponsor the bill. Now over 10% of the entire 120-member House of Representatives is sponsoring the proposal.

A companion bill – SB 346 – was filed in March with just one sponsor. It’s now sponsored by almost 15% of the full Senate, at seven. This brings the total number of sponsors in the legislature to 21.
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Report: In Legal Marijuana States, Just 6% of Consumers Purchase From an Illegal Dealer

According to a new report, even in states with high marijuana tax rates legalization is reaching one of its primary goals of eliminating the black market

According to a new report by New Frontier Data, 52% of current marijuana consumers in states where its legal said their primary source of marijuana and marijuana products is from brick-and-mortal marijuana stores. 17% said they have their marijuana delivered by a legal marijuana store, and 16% get it primarily from friends. Just 6% say they purchase marijuana from a dealer who is not licensed to sale the plant.

In states that have legalized medical marijuana but not recreational marijuana, the percentage of those who purchase from a dealer is doubled, at 12%. 37% of those in medical only states purchase from a brick-and-mortar location, 26% obtaining it from a friend and 14% have it delivered.
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Maryland Bill Banning Police Searches Based on Smell of Marijuana Becomes Laws

In April Maryland’s Legislature passed legislation that prohibits police from using the smell of marijuana as reasonable suspicion or probable cause in order to detain an individual, while also reducing the penalty for publicly consuming marijuana. The proposal has now become law without the governor’s signature.

House Bill 1071 was filed by Delegate Charlotte Crutchfield along with 43 cosponsors. The measure passed  the House of Delegates 101 to 36, and was passed by the Senate unanimously, 27 to 0. Governor Wes Moore chose to neither sign the bill into law or veto it. Given the window for Governor Moore to do either of those options has passed, House Bill 1071 has been enacted into law without the governor’s signature. It officially takes effect on July 1.

House Bill 1071 will prohibit  “a law enforcement officer from initiating a stop or a search of a person, a motor vehicle, or a vessel based solely” on the smell of marijuana. The proposal also reduces the fine associated with smoking marijuana in public (which remains a civil infraction even under the voter-approved legalization initiative) from $250 to $50 for a first offense, and from $500 to $150 for subsequent offenses.
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$67 Million in Legal Marijuana Sold in Nevada in February

In February there was $67 million in legal marijuana sold in Nevada.

According to data released by the Nevada Department of Taxation, licensed marijuana retail outlets sold $67,814,368 in February, a slight decrease from the $70,254,611 sold in January. The state made $10,511,703 in marijuana tax revenue in February, compared to $11,994,093 made in January (this was the highest tax revenue from marijuana sales since May, 2022 when the state garnered $12.5 million).

Of the $67 million sold in January, a large majority came from Clark County with $52.7 million, with the second highest being Washoe County at $8.8 million.
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