Maine’s Department of Administrative and Financial Services is in charge of licensing and regulating all marijuana businesses, including cannabis retail stores. It must consult with the Department of Public Safety regarding any rules concerning public safety or law enforcement matters.
All applicants for cannabis retail store licenses must:
- Be Maine residents, if they are natural persons.
- Be at least 21 years of age
- Not have been convicted of a drug offence that carries a maximum penalty of a year or more, unless the person completed their entire sentence at least 10 years prior or the offence was for marijuana-related conduct that has been legalized
- Not be employed by a state agency with a regulatory role
- Not be employed as three-step law enforcement or corrections officer
- Not have had a prior marijuana business license or medical marijuana ID card or license revoked and not owe outstanding court-ordered payments.
- If ownership is held by a business entity, all directors, managers, and general partners must be residents of Maine, and residents must own a majority of shares.
- Any applicant that is a business entity must be incorporated in Maine
Until January 1, 2022, applicants may not have an interest or license for more than four marijuana stores.
What is the process for obtaining an adult-use marijuana retail license in Maine?
The State of Maine follows a three-step process for awarding adult-use marijuana licenses: 1.) Conditional Licensure, 2.) Local Authorization, and 3.) Active Licensure.
Step One: Conditional Licensure Firstly, all applicants must first submit to a criminal history records check, and each applicant for a license will be required to obtain an OMP-issued Individual Identification Card (IIC). Within 90 days of you having submitted all application forms and required attachments, the Office of Marijuana Policy will determine and vet your application and will either deny the license or issue a non-renewable conditional license valid for one year.
Step Two: Local Authorization For a conditional license holder to be eligible for an active license, they must seek local authorization at the municipality they are operating in. The municipality will have 90 days to determine the request and then send an approved local authorization form directly to the OMP. Within 10 days of receiving an approved local authorization form, the OMP will request supplemental information and updated documents from the applicant.
Step Three: Active Licensure Supplemental information required for the issuance of an active license includes evidence of compliance with all electrical and permitting requirements and appropriate tax information and documents. Upon satisfaction that all requirements have been met, OMP will invoice the applicant for the licensing fee. Once payment is received, OMP will issue an active license that is valid for one year.
There are two fees associated with the adult-use marijuana retail license in Maine. The first is an application fee of $250, which must be submitted before the application can be processed. Once approved for a license, the annual licensure fee for an adult-use marijuana retailer can be no more than $2500, depending on your municipality.
The department may increase these amounts if the department approves a larger canopy count. All fees and fines levied will be placed in the Adult Use Marijuana Regulatory Coordination Fund and used to adopt rules and to license and regulate adult-use marijuana establishments.
Cannabis establishments can only operate in municipalities that have enacted an ordinance allowing that type of marijuana business. Marijuana establishments may not operate in towns, plantations, and unincorporated areas unless the town or county commissioners allow that type of marijuana establishment.
Cannabis establishments may not be located within 1,000 feet of a pre-existing school unless the municipality has elected to implement a smaller buffer zone, which must be at least 500 feet.
Marijuana stores can not operate as a medical marijuana dispensary or primary caregiver at the same location as the adult-use marijuana store.
During its 2019 regulatory review, the Commission authorized a pilot program for a Social Consumption License and expects to start accepting license applications for adult-use cannabis delivery in the spring of 2020. A Delivery-Only License type will be offered exclusively for Certified Economic Empowerment Priority applicants, Social Equity Program participants, and Microbusinesses with a Delivery Endorsement from the Commission, for an initial period of two years. Delivery for adult-use cannabis consumers will be permitted in municipalities in which retail sales are permitted, delivery businesses are located, and those that notify the Commission that delivery is permitted within their borders.