Maine has issued six long-awaited recreational cannabis licenses including two retail stores that will be allowed to open to the public on October 9, the Portland Press Herald reports. The licensing is a major step toward adult-use sales in the state which were approved by voters in 2016.
In addition to the retail store licenses in South Portland and Northport, the Office of Marijuana Policy also approved the license for Nelson Analytics – the first testing laboratory approval – and cultivation licenses for businesses in Detroit, South Portland, and Auburn.
No licenses were awarded for manufacturing businesses in the first round, but regulators say they will continue issuing adult-use licenses up to and after the October rollout date for the industry.
Erik Gundersen, director of the OMP, told the Press Herald that Maine has “the unique distinction of being the only state to launch its adult-use marijuana program during a pandemic,” and warned of supply shortages in the first months of sales.
“The initial market will likely be limited in both accessibility and product availability, but the industry will evolve responsibly and provide safe, convenient access.” – Gunderson to the Press Herald
Under the state’s voter-approved law, daily purchases are limited to 2.5 ounces of flower or 5 ounces of concentrates. Edible potency is maxed out at 10 milligrams per serving and packages cannot contain more than 100 milligrams.
Officials predict the first full year of sales will reach $168 million, which would generate a minimum of $33 million in tax revenues. Officials expect an estimated 6,100 new jobs to be generated by the sector.
So far, just 52 of the state’s 453 cities and towns have opted into allowing adult-use sales with more expected to accept, or reject, the industry in the coming months.