Maine officials now predict the state’s first adult-use cannabis operator will open for business in June, three months later than originally expected, the Portland Press Herald reports.
Erik Gundersen, director of the Office of Marijuana Policy, said Maine is “very close” to wrapping up the licensing process after receiving 197 applications, 80 of which were deemed sufficiently complete. Once an applicant is approved, however, they still will need to secure local authorization before being fully licensed. Additionally, the state also still needs to approve at least one official testing laboratory.
State officials have decided to wait until there is enough infrastructure to support the industry during its early days before the official launch, hence the multi-month delay.
“(That) 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. 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.” — Gundersen, via the Press Herald
The delays have prompted major adjustments to the state’s expected amount of cannabis tax revenue in fiscal year 2020, which ends in June.
Maine voters passed an adult-use cannabis legalization initiative in 2016. Meanwhile, neighboring Massachusetts — which voted to legalize during the same election — launched its own adult-use marketplace in 2018.