Maine’s cannabis regulator announced Tuesday that it had finally issued the state’s first round of commercial cannabis licenses, just weeks before the start of retail sales.
The announcement comes after voters approved a measure to legalize the ballot in 2016, at the same time as California, Massachusetts, and Nevada states that have already launched their cannabis cultivation and sale systems.
The state’s Office of Marijuana Policy (OMP) announced last month that sales would begin soon. Although authorized retailers will not be able to sell the product until October 9, new licensees will be able to grow and process cannabis as soon as possible to ensure a smooth rollout. Retailers should also develop public safety policies to prevent coronavirus transmission.
Maine will have the distinction of being the only state to launch its adult cannabis use program during a pandemic,” said PMO Director Erik Gundersen in a press release. Public health and safety are themes that have been part of the mission statement of the Office of Cannabis Policy since day one. Therefore, our top priority remains the well-being of employees and consumers in this new industry.
The OMP said it has approved licenses for three growers, two cannabis stores, and a testing center. Other licenses are under review.
While the current health pandemic has delayed our efforts and will likely contribute to a less robust introduction to the market than anticipated. Today’s action is a start toward fulfilling the will of Maine voters to provide adults 21 and older with a legal mechanism to obtain cannabis,” said Gundersen.
The initial market will likely be limited in terms of product accessibility and availability, but the industry will evolve responsibly and provide safe and convenient access to adult cannabis over the coming weeks and months.
Sales should have opened in March 2020, but the coronavirus pandemic delayed the opening by a few months.