One of the biggest factors lawmakers will have to weigh when they rewrite the state's new marijuana law is how much to raise taxes on products to help pay for regulation and other costs.

The taxation issue has been one of the key topics discussed throughout the Legislature's Marijuana Policy Committee's three public hearings. When the last of the panel's hearings wrapped up Monday, lawmakers moved from the public process of revamping the state's new legalized marijuana law to more closed-door discussions.

At Monday's State House hearing, Hampden County sheriff Nick Cocchi said legal marijuana could lead to abuse of harder drugs for those with addictive tendencies. He told the committee the effective 12 percent tax on retail marijuana should be raised by five percent, with the proceeds earmarked for public and private opiate addiction programs.

"Yes, we're here talking about the legalization of marijuana and the policy and protocol, but if we don't put the addiction and the opioid crisis in the same conversation, we're missing the boat," Cocchi said.

The Legislature is expected to fully rewrite the marijuana law voters passed at the ballot last year in favor of a new structure for regulating the drug that Democratic leaders expect to pass for Gov. Charlie Baker's signature this summer.

Cocchi and other sheriffs, who operate county jails and serve as regional public safety officials, say they need more funds to put toward treatment in their communities.

"If we can divert people from incarceration and get them into treatment beds, if we can help them get back on a path to recovery and sustain some long term recovery, we've not only made them better mothers and fathers and brothers and sisters and husbands and wives, we've made them better citizens in our community so they stop becoming a draw. They stop becoming a terrorization of our communities and they start becoming productive citizens," Cocchi said.

Senate committee co-chair Sen. Patricia Jehlen and other lawmakers have advocated for keeping the tax rate for legal pot low to prevent the illegal black market from continuing to operate.

Another hot topic for the panel is whether to retain a portion of the ballot-approved law that calls for regulations to promote involvement in the new industry by populations harmed by the lengthy prohibition of the drug. Individuals with drug-related criminal records are barred from taking part in the state's medical marijuana industry, but many who've spoken to the panel throughout the hearings want to reverse course and bring people with drug records into the fold for retail operations.

"The people who got locked up shouldn't get locked out of this industry. Not only should they have an opportunity to work in the industry, it is my contention that they should have an opportunity to own in this industry. In all honesty, [this is} because many of them are victims of this failed war on drugs," Boston City Councilor Tito Jackson testified.