Maine may soon be known for something more lucrative than its abundant lobsters. “The Pine Tree State” is expected to start allowing recreational sales of cannabis as soon as spring 2020. Considering the state legalized adult-use cannabis back in the November 2016 election, it’s clear that Maine’s legal sales have been off to a very slow start.
Customers in Maine should be able to purchase legal cannabis products by March 2020. However, as in most legal states, local jurisdictions have the ability to ban or limit recreational cannabis activity within their municipalities. The state isn’t imposing caps on the number of licenses it will issue to cannabis businesses.
Back in June, Gov. Janet Mills signed a cannabis bill, which outlined a deadline and rules for recreational cannabis sales. The bill has now gone into effect, and the next step will be for the Maine Office of Marijuana Policy to adopt the rules, according to The Associated Press.
According to Office Spokesman David Heidrich, the office should begin accepting applications for retail cannabis businesses by the end of this year. How quickly approval will happen will be largely up to applicants. “We won’t know until we get applications. It’s possible we get applications from someone who has all their ducks in a row and has a municipality lined up that’s poised to give them local authorization,” Heidrich said.
The race to legalize recreational cannabis in Maine has been one of the most challenging so far. Voters approved Maine’s cannabis bill by a margin so small, that a recount was ordered by the bill’s opponents. While the recount significantly delayed the rollout of the legislation, it was ultimately defeated. Also, former Gov. Paul LePage halted to process of establishing recreational cannabis rules in the past. Creating a legal framework for the state’s new industry has been a difficult road, but there is finally progress on the horizon for residents of Maine.