Maine Cannabis Business Licenses
WHAT IS MAINE'S CURRENT MARKET STATUS?
Content Below Last Updated by Point7 04/08/2022
After a long wait, on October 9, 2020 Maine began adult-use cannabis retail sales. In 2016, Maine voters passed the legalization initiative for the adult use program, which was adopted in June of 2019. Recently in 2022, a newly formed advocacy group, Protect Maine’s Cannabis Consumers, has been urging legislators to change Maine’s medical program rules by including product testing and tracking requirements. Currently, there are no track-and-trace requirements for the medical program which are required in the adult-use program. Within this next year, there may be amendments to the original medical cannabis bill in Maine.
WHAT ARE MAINE'S CANNABIS LAWS?
In 1999, Maine legalized medical cannabis for patients with qualifying conditions such as terminal illnesses and/or chronic pain and amended that law in 2009 to include more patients and provided them with ways to obtain cannabis legally as well as the state accepted applications for non-profit medical cannabis dispensaries and set up eight dispensaries throughout the state.
While the city of Portland legalized recreational cannabis in 2014, legalization of recreational cannabis for the whole state did not occur until two years later in 2016 under the Marijuana Legalization Act. The state then began accepting applications for cultivation, distribution, and retail licenses. The process of legalization took three years and in June 2019, legal adult-use sales for individuals 21 years and older began.
Adults who are over 21 and have a valid ID can purchase up to 2.5 ounces of a combination of cannabis and cannabis concentrate, however adults may not possess more than five grams of cannabis concentrate. It remains illegal to consume cannabis in public.
WHAT IS MAINE’S CANNABIS LICENSING TIMELINE & CANNABIS APPLICATION?
The applications for Maine’s medical and adult-use program are on a rolling basis. There is currently no cap on licenses for either program and will continue to accept applications. Municipalities hold the power to limit the license caps and ultimately approve the application within their jurisdiction.
WHAT IS MAINE’S CANNABIS HISTORY IN MAINE?
On the East Coast, Maine has been a pioneer in legalizing cannabis for medical and recreational use, legalizing medical cannabis in 1999 and recreational cannabis in 2016. Early on in 1976 Maine decriminalized cannabis possession and worked on reforming cannabis criminal charges. Years later in 1999, Maine legalized medical cannabis, allowing individuals to apply for medical cannabis cards. However, people quickly criticized the law as it did not address where these new medical cannabis patients could legally purchase cannabis in the state of Maine.
On November 3, 2009 Maine voters approved Question 5, which enacted the Maine Medical Marijuana Act which outlined the state’s plan and timeline for establishing medical cannabis license application rules. Maine was the fifth state to provide dispensaries to access medical grade cannabis for patients with chronic medical conditions or terminal illnesses. These not-for-profit dispensaries are licensed and regulated by the Maine Department of Health and Human Services.
On November 05, 2013 Portland officially legalized recreational cannabis within city-limits, making it the only city in the state to do so. The state of Maine soon followed in 2016 when lawmakers passed The Marijuana Legalization Act, which permitted adults who are not participating in the state’s medical cannabis program to legally grow and possess personal-use cannabis. The law also allows licensing commercial cannabis production and retail sales with a 10% tax on all products sold.
Since 2016, Maine has issued a number of cannabis licenses ranging from cultivation to retail and Maine cannabis businesses have proven to be successful. It’s estimated that by the end of 2022, Maine will have made $300 million in the state’s cannabis industry alone. Currently, there are eight operating dispensaries and in March of 2020 the state issued 31 more licenses. The state is continuing to accept cannabis license applications on a rolling basis.
Stay tuned for more information on growing hemp in Maine!
PREPARING FOR THE MAINE CANNABIS MARKET
We are ready to support your team as you prepare for cannabis licensure in Maine. Contact Point7 to discuss the fully customizable products and service packages available that have proved successful for operators around the country.