Maine Invites Feedback on Adult Use Marijuana Program Rules

September 3rd, 2021, Adult-use, Regulatory

Maine’s Office of Marijuana Policy (“OMP”) announced this week that they will be engaging in major substantive rulemaking related to the adult use marijuana program rule (“AUMP”) during the Second Regular Session of the 130th Legislature. They will be soliciting comments/feedback from stakeholders in the program starting this month and on a continual basis throughout this iterative process. 

For initial comments on the preliminary drafts, OMP is offering the opportunity to meet with OMP directly to provide thoughts and feedback instead of submitting informal comments in writing as they had done previously on other draft rules. When considering revisions to the AUMP rule, their focus will continue to be on reducing administrative and regulatory burdens and updating the rule to reflect guidance documents published by OMP since launch of the program. 

On Monday, August 30, 2021, OMP released a preliminary/discussion draft of potential revisions to the administrative rule that governs the AUMP (18-691 C.M.R. 1). A copy of this draft is available online: https://www.maine.gov/dafs/omp/adult-use/rules-statutes/rulemaking/draft-rules.

On Wednesday, September 1, 2021, OMP made a copy of a preliminary/discussion draft of revisions to the rule related to the certification of marijuana testing facilities (18-691 C.M.R. 5) available for public review. A copy of this draft is also available online here: https://www.maine.gov/dafs/omp/adult-use/rules-statutes/rulemaking/draft-rules.

Meetings to discuss  feedback on either or both of the discussion draft rules may be scheduled on the OMP’s Adult Use Draft Rules page.

OMP’s Director, Erik Gundersen, included the following additional information about the process in a letter to adult use marijuana establishment licensees/stakeholders:

Once we have concluded our meetings, considered the feedback received, and made appropriate revisions to the preliminary draft, OMP will begin the Maine Administrative Procedures Act (MAPA) process.

This will mean that OMP will introduce a proposed rule to revise the current AUMP rule. Public participation is a critical component of the MAPA process, and OMP will identify and announce a public hearing date as well as a specific written public comment period for this formal process. Either or both these avenues may be utilized by interested members of the public to provide feedback to OMP on the form, content, and/or application of the proposed rule revisions.

Once OMP completes this process, we will—again—consider the feedback received and make appropriate revisions to the rule. The key difference in major substantive rulemaking is that OMP must provisionally adopt the resulting rule and then submit it to the 130th Maine Legislature for review and consideration.

This process includes review by the legislature’s Office of Policy and Legal Analysis and the drafting of a resolve by the Revisor of Statutes that would permit OMP to proceed with its rulemaking activity. Once these requirements are completed, the resolve will be referred to a legislative committee by the Maine House of Representatives and Senate.

The committee will then review the revised rule and conduct a public hearing. Members of the committee have three options when considering the provisionally adopted rules: accept the rules, reject the rules, or accept the rules with modifications requested. Once the committee of jurisdiction completes its work, the resolve continues through the normal legislative process. Assuming the resolve becomes law, it would become effective 90 days after the adjournment of the Second Regular Session of the 130th Legislature—which is currently scheduled for April 20, 2022. Once the resolve goes into effect, OMP has 60 days before we must finally adopt the rule.

There will be ample opportunity for stakeholder review and feedback throughout, as these changes will be discussed well into 2022.

If you have any questions about the process or the draft rules, please reach out to a member of our Licensing and Regulatory Compliance Division.