Updated on June 25, 2021.
Medical content reviewed by Dr. Joseph Rosado, MD, M.B.A, Chief Medical Officer
On October 9 this year, all adults aged 21 and above will be able to buy marijuana legally. Marijuana businesses in Maine will begin recreational sales then, according to the state’s cannabis regulatory body announcement. Maine MMJ Sales Will Begin October 2020
This significant announcement comes after almost four years when the voters approved the legalization ballot measure. Compared to other states that legalized on the same day as California, Massachusetts, and Nevada, Maine has had the most delay in implementation. To the frustration of patients and cannabis business owners.
First Round Of Licenses Will Be Issued After Labor Day in September
September 8 is the day that the first round of Marijuana business licenses will be issued. This will give the licensees a month to begin harvesting, processing, and establishing quality control for all their marijuana products. It has still not been determined how many licenses will be approved.
According to the Office of Marijuana Policy (OMP), a part of the Maine Department of Administrative and Financial Services, the first active licenses to recreational cannabis businesses will get issued on Tuesday, September 8.
Cannabis Licenses Were Delayed Because of Covid-19 Health and Safety Concerns
Plans were underway by the state’s Office of Marijuana Policy (OMP) to launch retail sales in April. But all that was affected due to the coronavirus outbreak.
“The public’s health and safety are at the forefront of every decision we make,” OMP Director Erik Gundersen said in a press release. “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 gets introduced to Maine consumers in a manner that is as responsible as possible,” he said.
During these Coronavirus pandemic times, cannabis businesses are expected to be stringent on social distancing and other public safety requirements for them to operate successfully.
“Today’s announcement is a major milestone in honoring the will of Maine voters. It is a significant step toward launching a new industry in the state,” Gundersen said. “Many of the business owners we have spoken with during the application process are ready and eager to begin operations.”
The Four Year Waiting Period: Why Recreational Was Held Up by the Maine Legislature
The four-year implementation delay is more than the other states. These states legalized at the same time could get attributed to many things. One of the main things that could have seen this delay was interference by the then governor Paul LePage (R). This governor was a very vocal opponent when it came to cannabis reform. The governor could have been backed by other legislators when it came to the interference of implementation.
Governor Janet Mills (D) signed the legislation to make legal marijuana sales last year. Today she has taken a more flexible approach, given the support of both medical and cannabis by constituents.