Maine: Launch of Marijuana Retailers Faces Further Delays

Thursday, 16 April 2020

Augusta, ME: Adult-use marijuana retailers will not be operational by this spring, according to the latest guidance provided by state regulators.

State regulators granted conditional licenses in March to over 30 applicants seeking licensure to operate commercial, adult-use cannabis businesses. However, under the state's licensing regulations, facilities must be dually approved by both state and municipal officials before becoming operational. Representatives at the Maine Office of Marijuana Policy announced week that the COVID-19 pandemic had delayed the ability of municipal officials to review and finalize the approval process.

The agency said that they are "unable to provide any concrete timeline" as to when retail businesses will be operational. Officials added, "[W]e will continue to do everything within our power to ensure a timely launch of this new industry."

Maine voters initially approved the legalization of cannabis sales in November 2016 by passing a statewide initiative, but lawmakers – led by former Republican Gov. Paul LePage – repeatedly took steps to delay the law's implementation. Rules governing adult-use cannabis production and sales were not ultimately finalized until 2019.

For more information, contact Carly Wolf, NORML State Policies Coordinator, at (202) 483-5500.