FILE - ME James MacWilliams, marijuana 12-13-2017

James MacWilliams prunes a marijuana plant that he is growing indoors Dec. 13, 2017, in Portland, Maine.

Dozens of prospective proprietors have submitted paperwork to open marijuana businesses since applications started being accepted Dec. 5.

“When the Office of Marijuana Policy was established by the Mills Administration in February, we committed to making adult use applications available by the end of the year,” OMP Director Erik Gundersen said in a news release. “In the months since, we have worked diligently to accomplish this goal, including spending the last month accepting and processing the Individual Identification Card (IIC) applications of prospective licensees and individuals hoping to work in the new industry.”

Becoming licensed in the state of Maine’s adult use marijuana program requires three steps: conditional licensure, local authorization, and active licensure.

“The conditional licensure process consists of several requirements that must be satisfied prior to acceptance of a completed application, including certain individuals obtaining an IIC,” the release states.

Since early November, the OMP has been taking ID card applications for Maine’s adult use program, a process that requires fingerprinting and criminal background checks. As of early December, more than 400 ID card applications had been received, and nearly 150 cards had been issued to prospective licensees and employees.

The staggered rollout of applications has allowed the OMP to address concerns of industry stakeholders regarding the application process.

“Similar to our rulemaking work, this process has been exceedingly helpful in allowing our office to establish meaningful relationships with the very individuals we will be licensing and regulating,” Gundersen said.

In order for a conditional license holder to get an active license, they must seek local authorization.

“Municipalities have 90 days – and in some instances an additional 90 days – to respond to a licensee’s request for local authorization. Once local authorization is received, OMP will request supplemental information and updated documentation from the applicant before they would be eligible to obtain an active license,” the release states.