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A Recreational Marijuana Market is Coming to Maine

by Faith Fidura July 31, 2019

 

Maine Has New Recreational Marijuana Business Opportunities

MaineflagIn November 2016, Maine voters approved Question 1, legalizing the recreational use, retail sale, and taxation of marijuana. On January 27, 2017, the legislature approved a moratorium on implementing parts of the law regarding retails sales and taxation until at least February 2018 in order to give the state more time to resolve issues and submit rules. The portion of the law that allows persons over 21 years to grow six mature plants and possess 2.5 ounces became effective on January 30, 2017.

The main struggle to implement a regulated recreational market in the state up to this point was due to lack of support from former Governor Paul LePage, who vetoed previous legislation to build recreational regulations. However, Maine’s current governor, Governor Janet Mills, repeatedly voiced her support for establishing a recreational market and her administration worked to make it possible.

On June 27, 2019, Governor Janet Mills signed proposed recreational marijuana rules into law to implement and govern a recreational (adult-use) marijuana market. The law will take effect on September 18, 2019. The amended rules make the following changes from the previous provisionally adopted rules:

  • Deletes wording that may have limited out-of-state ownership of companies involved in the recreational marijuana market
  • Authorizes the Maine Department of Administrative and Financial Services to determine if a conditionally licensed applicant continues to meet the requirements for conditional licensure. If the department determines they no longer meet requirements, they may refuse the applicant an active license.
  • Amends the Maine Food Law so foods containing marijuana are not considered adulterated if they are prepared in a licensed food establishment that also is a licensed adult-use marijuana product manufacturing facility

The Office of Marijuana Policy within the Maine Department Administrative and Financial Services will be tasked with overseeing the regulation and licensing of recreational marijuana businesses. Visit the department’s website here to learn more.

Maine Recreational Marijuana Business Licensing Details

Applications for recreational marijuana business licensing are expected to become available by early 2020, with recreational sales expected to begin in March 2020. The new regulations establish the following recreational marijuana business license types and associated application fees:

Maine defines a “Marijuana Cultivation Facility” as an entity licensed to cultivate, prepare and package adult use marijuana; to sell adult use marijuana to products manufacturing facilities, to marijuana stores and to other cultivation facilities; and to sell marijuana plants and seeds to other cultivation facilities and immature marijuana plants and seedlings to marijuana stores. See the table below for information on the different tiers of cultivation facilities in Maine:

  • A Tier 1 Cultivation Facility – the two subcategories of tier 1 cultivation facility license are plant-count-based tier 1 cultivation facility license and plant-canopy-based tier 1 cultivation facility license. The application fee for a Tier 1 Cultivation Facility license is $100.
    • A Plant-Count-Based Tier 1 Cultivation Facility license allows cultivation of a specified number (not more than 30) of mature marijuana plants and an unlimited number of immature marijuana plants and seedlings.
    • A Plant-Canopy-Based Tier 1 Cultivation Facility license allows cultivation of not more than 500 square feet of plant canopy of mature plants.
  • A Tier 2 Cultivation Facility – allows cultivation by a licensee of not more than 2,000 square feet of plant canopy of mature plants. The application fee for a Tier 2 Cultivation Facility license is $500.
  • A Tier 3 Cultivation Facility – allows cultivation by a licensee of not more than 7,000 square feet of plant canopy of mature plants. The application fee for a Tier 3 Cultivation Facility license is $500.
  • A Tier 4 Cultivation Facility – allows cultivation by a licensee of not more than 20,000 square feet of plant canopy of mature plants. The license fee for a Tier 4 Cultivation Facility license is $500.
  • A Nursery Cultivation Facility – allows cultivation by a licensee of not more than 1,000 square feet of plant canopy. The application fee for a Nursery Cultivation Facility is $60.

Maine defines “Marijuana Products Manufacturing Facility” as an entity licensed to purchase adult use marijuana from a cultivation facility or another products manufacturing facility; to manufacture, label and package adult use marijuana and adult use marijuana products; and to sell adult use marijuana and adult use marijuana products to marijuana stores and to other products manufacturing facilities.

  • The application fee for a Retail Marijuana Products Manufacturing Facility is $250, and the annual license fee is $2,500.

Maine defines a “Marijuana Store” as an entity licensed to purchase adult use marijuana, immature marijuana plants and seedlings from a cultivation facility, to purchase adult use marijuana and adult use marijuana products from a products manufacturing facility and to sell adult use marijuana, adult use marijuana products, immature marijuana plants and seedlings to consumers.

  • The application fee for a Retail Marijuana Store is $250, and the annual license fee is $2,500.

Maine defines a “Marijuana Testing Facility” as an entity licensed to develop, research and test marijuana, marijuana products and other substances.

  • The application fee for a Retail Marijuana Testing Facility is $250, and the annual license fee is $1,000.

 

Begin Preparing for Maine’s Recreational Marijuana Business Opportunities

If you plan on applying for a marijuana business license in Maine, it’s best to begin preparing now to increase your chances of success. Begin educating yourself on what will be involved in the application process with our Marijuana Business Starter Package. The package includes: 

  • An Application Guide & Checklist for a detailed summary and checklist of over 100 action items you'll need to complete before submitting your application
  • A Business Plan Template to help you draft an executive summary for your business
  • A Financial Plan Template to give you and your investors a comprehensive 3-year projection of what to expect when operating a medical marijuana business
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