Maine has taken a significant stride towards creating a regulated adult-use cannabis industry after Gov. Janet Mills signed LD 719 into law.
The bill alters the Marijuana Legalization Act and creates a number of rules that will shape the state’s recreational cannabis industry. There will be five tiers of cultivation licenses, ranging from craft growers at small nurseries to large producers with 20,000 sq. ft. of plant canopy.
Retailers will be permitted to open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. across the state and they can sell up to 2.5 ounces of flower to each consumer per day. They can also sell edibles or concentrates containing up to 5g of THC to each shopper on a daily basis. However, local governments across the state can opt out of permitting marijuana retail outlets in their towns if they so desire.
So far fewer than 20 of Maine’s 455 municipalities have opted into the scheme, but that tally is likely to rise in the months ahead.
The bill also lays down a number of child protection rules, security measures, and restrictions around serving size, while stating that various state employees and law enforcement officers are ineligible for a Maine marijuana license.
It comes two-and-a-half years after voters in the state backed recreational cannabis legalization in a ballot. “Over the course of the last several months, my administration has worked quickly to implement the law regarding Maine’s adult-use recreational marijuana market as Maine voters asked the state to do [in 2016],” said Governor Mills.
She said her administration is now one step closer to honouring the will of Maine voters.
The law comes into force 90 days after the close of the Maine legislative session on June 20. The state has created an Office of Marijuana Policy, which is collaborating with seven different state agencies on the framework. It expects to begin accepting applications for licenses by the end of 2019.
All applicants must be at least 21 years of age and live in Maine, while the majority of investors must be from the state. Until June 2021, only people who have lived in Maine for four years can be awarded licenses.
The bill makes Maine the eighth U.S. state to have a clear path to a commercial recreational marijuana industry.