STATEWIDE – The Maine Office of Marijuana Policy is working toward getting adult-use cannabis in stores.
“The citizens of Maine passed a great citizens referendum that was unfortunately amended by the legislature, so right now, we’re still waiting,” said Paul T. McCarrier, a public advocate for the legalization of adult-use. “We’re still waiting to see when this market will actually launch.”
The legalization of recreational marijuana in Maine was approved by voters in 2016, but the adult-use cannabis program has yet to launch.
“There were again legislative rewrites that happened, governor’s vetoes, but when the Office of Marijuana Policy was established in February of last year, we more or less started with a blank slate and worked diligently to get us to where we are now,” said Erik Gundersen, director of the Maine Office of Marijuana Policy.
Gundersen said the Office of Marijuana Policy established the framework for what the adult-use industry will look like.
“Part of the licensing process is what we call local authorization, and this was put into law by the legislature again,” Gundersen said. “The second phase, the applicants need to find a host municipality and go through the local licensing regimes that are established.”
He said COVID-19 has caused a delay.
“A lot of the towns were either closed, short staffed, had different priorities, whatever it was, the local jurisdictions, the local authorization piece wasn’t coming back to us at the volume that we needed,” Gundersen said.
McCarrier hopes this will help small businesses.
“We need to make sure that cannabis legalization works for the little guy,” McCarrier said. “It works for the person who is a small business owner. It works for the woman who is growing her own crop and being able to sell it to an open market.”
They are both looking to have legal sales begin by the end of the year.
“We hope to making an official announcement later this month about starting the system, which is very exciting,” Gundersen said.