BELFAST – Years after Mainers voted to allow recreational marijuana, state officials are just now accepting applications for retailers.
Staff at 1 Mill in Belfast are starting 2020 with a steady stream of customers. The owner, Paul McCarrier, hopes to expand from selling medicinal marijuana to recreational, also known as adult use.
“What we’re hoping to see is that this be a Maine based system, much like a lot of our small breweries and we’ve seen that be very successful, so we’re hoping the state will be willing to work hand in hand with us,” he said.
Maine voters approved recreational marijuana in November of 2016, but the state only started accepting applications for recreational retailers in December.
The years in between were spent on a recount and a battle in the legislature.
“In 2018, those amendments were finally completed, the gubernatorial veto was overridden,” said David Heidrich, the director of engagement and community outreach at the Maine Office of Marijuana Policy.
He said next fiscal year, tax revenue from adult use marijuana is expected to be at $16.8 million.
While some of that goes to the state’s general fund, a portion of the excise tax will go to law enforcement and education campaigns.
Heidrich said it would go to teach people, “about responsible use of adult use marijuana, as well as concerns that the public may have as it relates to various health issues.”
McCarrier is one of the several people who has started the application process.
In the meantime, he said he wants to see some changes to the statute “to allow co-location of medical and adult use retail stores. The importance of that is we’re not going to leave our patients high and dry.”
State officials estimate the first adult use retailer in Maine will open in spring of 2020.
For now they’re processing applications, which can be done online.