Portland, Maine Anticipates Wave of New Cannabis Business Openings

Portland, Maine is expecting dozens of new cannabis businesses to open up in the coming weeks, about five months after the launch of adult-use sales in the state.

Full story after the jump.

Dozens of new cannabis businesses are expected to open in Portland, Maine in the coming weeks, according to the Portland Press Herald.

Portland’s acting Director of Inspections and Permitting Jessica Hanscombe said they have already approved two adult-use retail licenses and some 31 other shops are pending final approval. The city also received five medical dispensary applications and has approved one. Hanscombe said there are in total 59 retailer, manufacturing, and laboratory licenses awaiting the green light to open.

According to the report, she predicts there will be a “flurry” of openings over the next two weeks, with the remainder of retail shops likely opening by November.

“In the years I’ve been doing this, we’ve adopted different ordinances, but this is the first that’s so expansive. We hope to be a city every other city can look to for the best way to do this.” — Hanscombe, via the Herald

Maine’s adult-use cannabis marketplace officially launched five months ago but these are the first adult-use cannabis businesses to open their doors in Portland; notably, the city voted nearly 2:1 in favor of legalizing cannabis in the state’s 2016 referendum. After the city adopted an ordinance establishing a 20-shop cap that included a licensing point system based on various social equity considerations and economic situations, however, a federal judge ruled that the ordinance “discriminated” against out-of-state applicants.

In October last year, the City Council suspended the cap and voters made the recusal permanent in November. Now, nearly five months after Maine’s adult-use system went live, Hanscombe told the Herald that the city is granting licenses on a first-come, first-served basis, and the point system will only be used if applicants apply at the exact same time.

Portlanders also chose to lower the mandatory buffer between cannabis shops from 250 feet to 100 feet in November, which made way for even more cannabis businesses to open in the city.

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