Maine Cannabis Retailers Sell $1.4 Million In First Month Of Legal Sales

State regulators enhance online transparency dashboard with sales metrics.

MAINE:  Preliminary sales data from regulators at the state’s Office of Marijuana Policy indicate Maine’s marijuana retailers grossed approximately $1.4 million and made 21,194 transactions during the first month of retail sales. The data, which was extracted from the state’s inventory tracking system, Metrc, shows that smokable marijuana made up 76 percent of sales, while concentrates and infused products accounted for 14 percent and 10 percent, respectively.

Maine’s adult use market launched on October 9 and saw sales from six active licensees that month. An additional three adult use retailers opened their doors during the first week of November. The reporting period covers sales made from Maine’s retail sales launch date of October 9 through the end of the day on November 8, a total of 31 days.

“While it is easy to focus solely on the numbers, it is important to note that the Office of Marijuana Policy’s primary objective is maintaining the high standard of public health and safety we have set for the adult use program,” said OMP Director Erik Gundersen.“We appreciate the commitment our licensees have demonstrated to enact COVID protocols to ensure a safe launch and their continued commitment to these efforts in light of the recent spike in COVID cases in Maine.”

Adult use monthly sales totals and product types have been added to OMP’s existing transparency dashboard, available here. The initial data set includes the first month of retail sales. Beginning in December, sales information will be updated monthly with the preceding month’s totals.

Sales data are preliminary in nature, subject to further revision and have not been audited. The Office is responsible for the oversight of all aspects of legalized marijuana, including Maine’s existing Medical Use of Marijuana Program.

Office of Marijuana Policy Unveils New Details On Planned Launch Of Adult Use Marijuana In Maine

Retail sales to the public permitted to begin on or after October 9, 2020.

MAINE: The Office of Marijuana Policy, a part of the Maine Department of Administrative and Financial Services, unveiled plans for the issuance of Maine’s first active licenses for adult use marijuana establishments. The Office intends to issue the first active licenses to recreational cannabis businesses on Tuesday, September 8, 2020. Retail sales of adult use marijuana to consumers 21 years of age or older will be permitted starting on Friday, October 9, 2020.

The issuance of active licenses will continue the Office of Marijuana Policy’s structured rollout of Maine’s nascent adult use industry, which had been indefinitely postponed in April in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The public’s health and safety are at the forefront of every decision we make at the Office of Marijuana Policy,” said OMP Director Erik Gundersen. “While we were poised to launch this new industry earlier this year, we were unwilling to sacrifice the high standards we have set for this program by launching during an emerging public health pandemic and in the absence of a testing facility. With the support of the public health community, municipalities across the state, and the industry we regulate, we have used the last few months to ensure this new industry is introduced to Maine consumers in a manner that is as responsible as possible.”

Active licensure is the culmination of a three-step application process which also includes conditional licensure and local authorization, respectively. An active license is required for adult use establishments to come into possession, process and sell adult use marijuana, including initiating plant transfers from Maine’s existing medical marijuana program.

It is expected adult use licensees will utilize the time between active licensure and Maine’s retail sales launch date to harvest and process marijuana, ensure those products satisfy the mandatory testing requirements, and move product through the supply chain to stock retail store shelves. Additionally, businesses which will conduct retail sales will prepare to implement and support social distancing and other public health guidance at a time when public interest may attract a significant consumer presence to their retail locations.

“Today’s announcement is a major milestone in honoring the will of Maine voters and a significant step toward launching a new industry in the state,” added Gundersen. “Many of the business owners we have spoken with during the application process are ready and eager to commence operations.”

The application process required by the adult use law requires state regulators to review application materials for form and substance, with an eye toward details such as ensuring that all applicants have completed their required state and federal criminal history record checks; that the establishment’s operation, facility, and security plans satisfy the requirements of both the Marijuana Legalization Act and the adult use program rule; and that the designated host municipality has provided the applicant with authorization to conduct business in their community.

OMP expects to issue licenses in each of the four categories of adult use establishments: cultivation, products manufacturing, retail sale, and testing. Information on the specific number of licenses issued and the identities of active licensees will be made available on Tuesday, September 8, 2020.

The Mills Administration created OMP within DAFS in February 2019. The Office is responsible for the oversight of all aspects of legalized marijuana, including Maine’s existing Medical Use of Marijuana Program.

Maine: 17 New Adult Use Conditional Licenses Issued

MAINE: How big is Maine’s new adult-use cannabis industry? According to the Maine Office of Marijuana Policy, there are 17 new adult use conditional licenses. The breakdown includes seven marijuana stores, five cultivation facilities, four products manufacturing facilities, and one testing facility.

Maine: Voter-Initiated Retail Cannabis Sales Face Further Delays

MAINE: Lawmakers have once again pushed back plans to establish licensing rules and regulations to govern the commercial production and retail sale of marijuana to adults.

Voters initially approved the legalization of cannabis sales in November 2016, but lawmakers – led by former Republican Gov. Paul LePage – have repeatedly taken steps to delay the law’s implementation.

On Friday, state officials rescinded a contract with the consulting group that had been hired to assist in drafting regulations to implement the law. Those regulations were anticipated to be finalized by April. Officials declined to speculate on a new timeline, according to the Associated Press.

Newly elected Gov. Janet Mills (D) is on record stating that lawmakers “must follow the will of the people [and] implement the [voter-initiated marijuana] law.”


For more information, contact Justin Strekal, NORML Political Director, at (202) 483-5500.

Maine: Governor Threatens To Veto Legislation Regulating Voter-Approved Cannabis Sales

UPDATE:  Maine Governor Vetoes Retail Legalization Implementation

MAINE: Republican Gov. Paul LePage has threatened to veto legislation regulating the production and sales of cannabis to adults. Members of the House and Senate approved the legislation this week during a one-day special session, but did so without a veto-proof majority.

A majority of Maine voters decided last November in favor of a statewide initiative legalizing the adult use, retail production, and licensed sale of marijuana. Governor LePage lobbied against the measure and in January lawmakers passed emergency legislation delaying the enactment of many of its provisions until February 2018. Since that time, the Governor has refused to work with lawmakers with regard to how to regulate marijuana sales and other provisions of the law. The Governor did endorse legislation that sought to delay any further implementation of the law until 2019, but lawmakers defeated that measure.

Governor LePage has until November 3 to either sign the legislation, veto it, or let it become law absent his signature.

Presently, adults may legally possess, consume, and cultivate personal use quantities of cannabis, but no regulations exist governing its retail production or sale.


For more information, contact Justin Strekal, NORML Political Director, at (202) 483-5500.

Marijuana ‘Gifts’ Legal As Maine Works Out Licensing Rules

By The Associated Press 

MAINE:  A Biddeford business owner hoping to start selling pot next year is giving his products away for free for now.

The Portland Press Herald reports that Jack Sargent of the Biddeford-based Cannabis Shack is accepting donations for shipping and handling while waiting for the state to issue retail licenses.  It’s legal to accept free gifts of pot and some say the limbo before the opening of retail stores is pushing otherwise law-abiding citizens into an underground market.

Some states have cracked down on such practices. The voter-approved law legalizing marijuana took effect in January.  Adults can legally possess up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana and grow their own plants.  But no one can legally sell pot as Maine works through the extensive process of regulating the sale of marijuana.

Maine: Voter-Initiated Changes In Law Eliminate Marijuana Possession Penalties

MAINE:  Maine became the eighth state to eliminate criminal penalties specific to the adult possession and personal use of cannabis.

Language in Question 1: The Marijuana Legalization Act, specific to the private possession and cultivation of marijuana by adults, took effect on Monday. Maine voters narrowly passed Question 1 on Election Day.

The new law permits adults who are not participating in the state’s existing medical cannabis program to possess up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana and/or the harvest from up to six mature plants.

Public use of marijuana is a civil infraction punishable by a $100 fine.

In response to voters’ approval of Question 1, Maine lawmakers passed separate legislation last week, LD 88, also permitting adults to possess up to five grams of marijuana concentrates. However, other provisions in the measure delay the implementation of retail marijuana sales until at least February 1, 2018. It also prohibits the possession of “edible retail marijuana products” until this date.

Alaska, California, Colorado, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington have previously adopted voter-initiated laws legalizing the private consumption and/or sale of cannabis by adults. The District of Columbia also permits adults to legally possess and grow personal use quantities of marijuana in private residences.

NORML Comments On Maine Marijuana Legalization Certification

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: Adults in Maine will be able to legally possess and grow personal use quantities of cannabis without penalty beginning January 30, 2017.

“Sometimes our opponents have to be drug there kicking and screaming, but it is good to see the ‘No on 1′ campaign and Governor LePage honor the will of state voters and allow legalization’s election night victory to finally be formally certified,” stated NORML Executive Director Erik Altieri, “We will be fighting to ensure the initiative is implemented as voters intended and will be vigilant and prepared to fight back against any further efforts to rollback this landmark reform.”

Governor Paul LePage on Saturday certified the results of Question 1: The Marijuana Legalization Act. The voter-initiated measure narrowly passed on Election Day and was subject to a partial recount. By law, the measure becomes law 30 days after the Governor has affirmed the results.

At that time, adults who are not participating in the state’s medical cannabis program will be able to legally possess up to two and one-half ounces of cannabis and/or the total harvest produced by six mature plants.

Maine will become the eight US state to eliminate criminal and civil penalties for adults who possess marijuana for their own personal use.

Separate provisions in the measure also establish regulations for the commercial cultivation, retail sale, and social use of cannabis. Regulations governing marijuana-related businesses are scheduled to be in place by August 8, 2017. However, the Governor has called on lawmakers to push back this timeline. Massachusetts lawmakers last week enacted a similar delay to their retail sales program.

Governor LePage has been a strong opponent of implementing Question 1, stating, “If there was ever a bill that the legislature should just kibosh, that’s it.” He has also suggested increasing the retail sales tax rates associated with the measure, as well as abolishing the state’s medical cannabis program, which has been in place since 1999 — positions that NORML opposes.

Legalization of Cannabis Pending in Nine States

NEW YORK: Americans are more open minded about legalizations of Cannabis than ever before. A recent Gallup poll shows that about 60% of Americans support legal cannabis use. The surprising parts about this poll is the rising support for cannabis reform across all age groups. Take this into perspective and now you have nine states voting this November 8 on legalization of medical use, recreational use, or both depending on the state.

The states where recreational cannabis will be on the ballot are CaliforniaArizonaNevadaMaine and Massachusetts, while North DakotaArkansasMontana and Florida are considering medical marijuana legalization. California in particular is an interest to investors. According to Arcview Group, a company that links investors with cannabis companies, has shown the market for both recreational and medicinal marijuana is expected to reach a value of $22 billion by 2020 from the $7 billion it is today, if California says yes.

 

Is Juicing Raw Marijuana The Next Green Drink?

MAINE:  Every morning, Katie Marsh starts her day with a green smoothie— infused with cannabis.

Marsh, of Madawaska, Maine, blends up yogurt, fruit and thawed, juiced cannabis.

“To drink it straight is kind of bitter, but it’s not at all objectionable in a smoothie,” she said.

Marsh’s unusual recipe stems from being diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, three years ago. The autoimmune disease causes painful swelling in the hands and feet. She was prescribed prednisone and a low-dose antibiotic. The latter only made her symptoms worse.