New License Available for Marijuana Sample Collectors in Maine

June 29th, 2020, Adult-use, Cannabis Law, Licensing, Regulatory, State, Testing

On Friday, June 26th Maine’s Office of Marijuana Policy (“OMP”) completed emergency rulemaking related to the sample collection of marijuana and marijuana products in the adult use marijuana program. Governor Janet T. Mills signed LD 1545, An Act Regarding the Collection of Samples for Testing of Adult Use Marijuana and Adult Use Marijuana Products, into law on March 23, 2020. The new regulations implement the changes outlined in statute.

Because the rules were adopted on an emergency basis, they went into effect immediately and will be in place as currently drafted until at least Tuesday, September 22, 2020. The new regulations can be found in 18-691 C.M.R. ch. 1, the Adult Use Marijuana Program Rule, and 18-691 C.M.R. ch. 5, the Rules for the Certification of Marijuana Testing Facilities.

The highlights of the recent regulatory changes are as follows:

  • A new category of license (“sample collector”) is now available.
    • Note that an individual or entity that intends to apply for a standalone sample collector license cannot be a registered caregiver and cannot have a direct or indirect financial interest in a registered dispensary or any adult use marijuana establishment (testing facility, marijuana store, cultivation facility, or products manufacturing facility).
    • Local authorization is not required in order to obtain an active sample collector license; as a result, OMP is not issuing conditional licenses for this particular category of license. The initial application will be for an active license.
  • Testing facilities and their employees may still travel to a licensee’s facility to collect samples; it is not mandatory to utilize a licensed sample collector.
  • Until October 1, 2021, adult use marijuana establishment licensees (including marijuana stores, cultivation facilities, and products manufacturing facilities) and their authorized employees may collect and deliver their own samples directly to licensed testing facilities.
  • Any sample collector licensee or licensee engaged in self sampling must coordinate closely with the selected testing facility to identify necessary procedures and ensure the accuracy of information listed on required forms.
  • Any individual engaged in the collection and delivery of marijuana samples must hold a valid Individual Identification Card issued by OMP.
  • Any individual engaged in sample collection activity must comply with OMP’s sample collection standard operating procedures
  • OMP may, with or without suspicion of infractions, conduct an inspection or audit of any licensee’s sample collection practices, including, without limitation:
    • Reviewing video footage;
    • Reviewing sample collection and chain-of-custody forms;
    • Inspecting any samples, including sample collection containers, for compliance with all packaging and labeling requirements of the rule
    • Reviewing tracking system data and transportation manifests;
    • Reviewing any business-related documents, including personnel records, deemed necessary by OMP to determine compliance with all sample collection requirements of the rule; and
    • Requiring testing of batches, at the licensee’s expense. Samples collected for testing pursuant to this paragraph must be collected by or in the presence of OMP employees.
  • The application fee for a standalone sample collector license will be $100, with an annual license fee of $250.

Simultaneous to the emergency rule adoption, OMP proposed to complete routine technical rulemaking that will make these additions to the regulations permanent. A public hearing is scheduled via Zoom for Wednesday, July 29, 2020 at 10:00AM EDT. A link will be sent out to participants prior to the date of the public hearing. Interested parties should contact OMP if they would like to attend or participate in the public hearing. OMP will be accepting public comments from now until 5:00PM EDT on Monday, August 10, 2020.

If you have questions about the new sample collector license or mandatory sample collection procedures, please contact a member of Drummond Woodsum’s Licensing and Regulatory Compliance division.