Maine Cannabis Market
The cannabis consultants at Point Seven Group are experts in the Maine cannabis market. We have successfully helped our clients obtain cannabis licenses, design dispensaries, build identifiable cannabis brands, and operate compliant cannabis businesses. Our team of cannabis experts can help you reach your business goals in the Maine cannabis market!
MAINE CANNABIS MARKET STATUS
On the East Coast, Maine has been a pioneer in legalizing cannabis for both medical and recreational use, legalizing medical cannabis in 1999 and recreational cannabis in 2016. As early as 1976, Maine decriminalized cannabis possession and worked on reforming cannabis criminal charges.
ADULT-USE CANNABIS IN MAINE
On November 05, 2013 Portland legalized recreational cannabis within city-limits, making it the only city in Maine to do so. This bill was more akin to decriminalization as it did not create any formal licensing structure or establish regulations for a commercial industry.
Despite passing an adult-use voter initiative in November 2016 along with three other states—California, Massachusetts, and Nevada—Maine was the last of those states to officially launch adult-use sales. In April 2018, the Maine Legislature passed LD 1719, which established the regulatory framework for cannabis sales in Maine. LD 1719 made significant changes from the 2016 voter initiative. The rules for adult-use cannabis businesses were officially adopted in June 2019 and retail sales finally began on October 9, 2020.
The Office of Cannabis Policy (OCP) is currently engaged in licensing adult-use cannabis establishments and enforcing program rules. Maine has a dual-licensing program whereby cannabis businesses must receive local municipality support. Towns may opt in by a vote of the town council or at the ballot box by voters.
MEDICAL MARIJUANA IN MAINE
Maine voters initially approved a ballot initiative legalizing medical cannabis for patients suffering from serious health issues in 1999. Though Maine allowed individuals to apply for medical cannabis cards, 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.
Ten years later, voters approved a ballot initiative expanding the existing medical cannabis program to include more qualifying conditions and improve access. On November 3, 2009 Maine voters approved Question 5, which enacted the Maine Medical Marijuana Act. This Act outlined the state’s plan and timeline for establishing medical cannabis license application rules. Maine was the fifth state to license dispensaries to grant patients access to medical grade cannabis for dealing with chronic medical conditions or terminal illnesses. These not-for-profit medical dispensaries have been licensed and regulated by the Maine Department of Health and Human Services.
In early July 2018, the Maine Legislature overrode then-Governor LePage’s vetoes of LD 238 and LD 1539, bills to improve Maine’s medical cannabis program. LD 238 allows for third-party extraction of medical cannabis. LD 1539 was the culmination of the Health and Human Services Committee’s session-long work reforming the medical cannabis program. The bipartisan omnibus reform bill went into effect on December 13, 2018.
In 2022, a newly formed advocacy group, Protect Maine’s Cannabis Consumers, urged 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.
ADULT-USE CANNABIS MARKET PROJECTIONS IN MAINE
MAINE CANNABIS NEWS
MAINE CANNABIS LAWS
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. An adult may cultivate up to three flowering marijuana plants, 12 immature plants, and unlimited seedlings. Home cultivation above the allowed amounts, or within prohibited boundaries, such as near a school, is still punishable by law as a crime.
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 both will continue to accept applications. Municipalities hold the power to limit the license caps and ultimately approve the application within their jurisdiction.