Key Minnesota lawmakers and the governor agree that marijuana should be legalized in the state. But one area where they aren’t exactly aligned is the tax rate for cannabis products.
The bill that’s been advancing in House and Senate committees in recent weeks calls for an eight percent marijuana excise tax. Gov. Tim Walz (D) thinks that should be almost doubled, proposing a 15 percent tax as part of his biennial budget request.
Rep. Zack Stephenson (D), sponsor of the House version, says the priority should be ensuring that the tax is low enough to effectively transition people away from the illicit market while still covering administrative costs and key programs, including those meant to promote social equity.
In an interview with Fox 9 that aired late last week, the governor said that he understood that need—but “the evidence doesn’t show” that his higher tax proposal would help the illicit market thrive. At the same time, he feels there’s a need to generate more tax revenue to support substance misuse treatment, in part to appeal to legalization opponents.
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