The Maine Office of Marijuana Policy is now reviewing complete applications for the state’s first adult-use marijuana retail stores, which are expected to open in the spring.
“That’s what we’ve been striving toward since fulfilling our commitment to make applications available by the end of 2019, and we remain on pace to meet that target,” David Heidrich, spokesman for the state marijuana office, told the Bangor Daily News.
One such complete application is Cliff Miller’s, chief executive officer of Auburn medical marijuana grower Atlantic Cannabis, who is hoping to transition from a medical to an adult-use business.
Miller told the Daily News he is curious to see if the state’s recreational marijuana market, like other states before, will have a “supply and demand issue” on day one.
Although Miller is transitioning to adult-use, Catherine Lewis, president of the board for Medical Marijuana Caregivers of Maine, told the Daily News she hopes her patients won’t abandon their medical cards when retail sales are legal.
While voters approved legal recreational marijuana in 2016, the state’s Medical Use of Marijuana Program has been growing since 2012 and has 5,315 printed patient certificates and 2,621 registered caregivers as of January.
Now, efforts to create and grow the new recreational marijuana market are part of the state marijuana office’s Adult Use Marijuana Program, which opened to applications Dec. 5.
The process to receive a 1-year active license requires first completing an online application which the OMP will review and give a conditional license to all qualified applicants.
“A licensee that has been issued a conditional license by the department may not engage in the cultivation, manufacture, testing or sale of adult use marijuana or adult use marijuana products,” according to Maine.Gov.
After obtaining a conditional license, applicants must then seek approval from their local municipality. The municipality typically has 90 days to authorize or deny the request and then must send notice of locally authorized applicants back to the state marijuana office.
Finally, the state marijuana office will request additional documentation from the applicant, and, if all requirements are met, will request a licensing fee before awarding an active license.