Maine officials are delaying the rollout of recreational cannabis sales citing the coronavirus pandemic. In a letter to stakeholders, Office of Marijuana Policy Director Eric Gundersen called a spring industry launch “unrealistic.”
In the letter, Gundersen said that localities preparing for authorization to opt-in to adult-use sales have to postpone their actions amid the outbreak and that there are currently “sheer unknowns” such as when social distancing efforts will be scaled back.
“We are simply unable to provide any concrete timelines in these uncertain times. We cannot tell you with any level of certainty when towns will be able to take action to ensure there will be adequate testing to meet the needs of program, and we certainly cannot set a definitive retail sales launch date amidst a public health pandemic.” – Gundersen in the letter
Gundersen said that despite the pandemic, the agency is “continuing to operate at full capacity to be ready” for when the industry will be rolled out. He said that the OMP, along with Metrc, have “completed user acceptance testing, deployment certification, and have moved Maine’s track and trace system into a live production environment.” Additionally, the agency is still accepting industry applications.
Last month, officials announced they were delaying the start of recreational cannabis sales in the state until June – three months later than expected. It’s been four years and counting since Maine voters approved adult-use sales.
“If you had asked me a month ago if anything could have stopped our progress, I would have balked at the suggestion,” Gundersen wrote in the letter.
He did not offer a new timeline for the launch of the market.