Maine Postpones Launch Of Recreational Cannabis

Maine is delaying the launch of its adult-use cannabis market as the COVID-19 pandemic remains unresolved.

In a letter on Friday, April 10, Office of Marijuana Policy (OMP) Director Erik Gundersen informed stakeholders that the retail cannabis market would not be getting started as planned.

Maine legalized recreational cannabis use in November of 2016 and began taking major steps toward the launch of the retail market after Governor Janet Mills (D) signed LD 719, which made changes to the Marijuana Legalization Act and approved provisionally-adopted operating rules.

Director Gundersen writes in the letter that OMP has kept its promises to the public and the industry, submitting rules to the legislature on time and accepting applications by the end of 2019 to prepare for the market launch in the Spring of 2020.

Due to OMP’s level of preparedness Maine’s and the recent issuance of Maine’s first conditional licenses for adult-use cannabis establishments, Gunderson writes that he would have balked at the suggestion that anything could have stopped the progress a month ago.

However, writes Gundersen, the notion of launching Maine’s adult-use cannabis industry is now simply unrealistic.

With an uncertain rollout timeline, Gundersen writes that the retail cannabis market will be launched in a manner that is best in the nation at protecting public health and safety.

“We are simply unable to provide any concrete timelines in these uncertain times,” writes Director Gundersen. “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 [sic], and we certainly cannot set a definitive retail sales launch date amidst a public health pandemic.”

Even with the delay, Gundersen writes that OMP is operating at full capacity to be ready for the yet-to-be-determined launch day, having recently completed user acceptance testing, deployment certification, and moved Maine’s track-and-trace system into a live production environment in partnership with Metrc.

Gundersen writes that the OMP will do everything in its power to ensure a timely launch of the adult-use cannabis industry in Maine.