Vermont Senate drafting retail marijuana bill

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The bill could be finalized as early as January

The retail marijuana market in Vermont may come sooner, rather than later. The state’s Senate is currently working on legislation that will create a retail marijuana market and Tim Ashe, Vermont’s Senate President, indicates that the bill could be ready by the early part of January next year.

The bill includes ideas that were submitted by the Marijuana Advisory Commission. According to Ashe, “We’re trying to incorporate as many things as we’re seeing coming out of the governor’s commission as possible. Some of that reflects just better information a few years later. Some of it is more input, which has contributed to a different way of thinking. I think that the 26 percent total tax rate is probably a good starting point for the bill. Of course, the committees will take a look and make sure they think that that is sensible.”

While the bill’s language hasn’t been released yet, it’s possible that it will include details on a tax program for marijuana. Vermont’s Subcommittee on Taxation and Regulation is set to present its taxation plan to the MAC next month in a 90-page report that outlines a possible 26-27% tax rate for cannabis sales. The rate is composed of a 20% retail excise tax, 6% sales tax and a 1% optional local tax. The subcommittee asserts that the end result will be pricing that is competitive with the illicit market, which could lead to forcing the black market out of business.