Taxes on newly legalized recreational cannabis in Maryland could be phased in over time as the state seeks to replace an illicit market with a regulated one.
Between now and July, lawmakers will have to wrestle with a number of issues. Legislators will ultimately have to decide on how to tax the new industry and at what level. Taxes that are too high can bolster black market sales and make it tougher for a legal market in its infancy to establish a beachhead.
“I’ve always been under the impression — because we’re talking about the illicit market — that people are willing to pay more for a legal product than an illegal product but not necessarily double,” said Sen. Brian Feldman, D-Montgomery and vice chair of the Senate Finance Committee.
“You don’t want to lose to the illicit market too quickly,” he said during a recent briefing of the House Cannabis Referendum and Legalization Work Group. “You want to have a competitive product early and then as the legal market matures, then you can ratchet up (taxes) over time, a graduated system.”