Maine awards 1st active recreational marijuana licenses ahead of October retail sales

Nearly four years after Maine voters legalized recreational marijuana, the state office overseeing the market’s launch said Tuesday it has approved the first six active licenses for adult-use marijuana establishments.

That moves the state closer to starting retail sales to the public beginning on Friday, Oct. 9, when active retail license holders can sell to consumers 21 years of age or older.

It took until June 2019 for the Legislature to vote on rules for recreational marijuana sales and regulation in Maine and then pass them on for the governor’s signature. Businesses need both conditional approval from the city or town where they will operate and active license approval from the Maine Office of Marijuana Policy before they can open legally.

Maine first made adult-use applications available last Dec. 5, and the first conditional licenses were issued on March 13, 2020. The marijuana policy office said it was on pace for a spring 2020 launch of adult-use marijuana before the pandemic postponed those plans.

“While the current health pandemic delayed our efforts and will likely contribute to a less robust introduction to the market than expected, today’s action is a start to the realization of the will of Maine voters to provide adults 21 years of age and older with a lawful mechanism to obtain marijuana,” Erik Gundersen, director of the state marijuana policy office, said. [Read more at Bangor Daily News]