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Maine Delays Start Date for Cannabis Sales

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Maine officials recently decided to push the deadline for opening recreational cannabis dispensary to June. However, despite this projected delay, analysts predict that the state will collect $5 million in sales during the first month of operation.

According to the Press Herald, the state is “very close” to issuing the first round of conditional cannabis licenses for new businesses. So far, they have received 197 applications, and 80 of those have made it through to be reviewed.

Still, even after a license is obtained, the applicant must receive local authorization and then must obtain other permissions as well. This includes authorization from the applicant’s city, which can take at minimum two weeks, or at maximum, one full year. If applicant’s receive approval from the municipality, then they must return to the state a time again for final approval. It’s important to note that Maine officials won’t be issuing active licenses until testing facilities are up and running anyway, and it’s unclear whether there will be enough labs right away for all dispensaries.

“Waiting until June will allow product to go through the mandatory testing regime, go through the manufacturing process and allow retail stores to fully stock their shelves with a wide array of products,” said Erik Gundersen, the director of the Office of Marijuana Policy. “Hopefully, (we’ll) get enough products into the system to withstand the first day, the first weekend, the first week of demand so we don’t have a shortage like we’ve seen in other states.”

So far, the state is projecting $84 million in 2021, $118 million in 2022 and $166 million in 2023 (all with a steady 10 percent tax rate).

Maine is already known for issues with a lack of testing facilities, and it started taking applications for the new industry in fall of last year, but are still trying to catch up. 

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