Supply Issues in Maine’s New Adult Use Market

September 18th, 2020, Adult-use, Cannabis Law, Cultivation, Licensing, Medical, Regulatory, State

On September 8, 2020, Maine’s Office of Marijuana Policy (“OMP”) issued the first active licenses for a handful of cultivation facilities, manufacturing facilities, testing labs, and retail stores, and the agency is continuing to issue licenses on a rolling basis. When the very first retail stores are allowed to open to members of the public in October, however, it is unlikely that all the shelves will be fully stocked. This is because Maine law only allows for transfer of marijuana from the existing medical marijuana program to adult use cultivation facilities under a limited set of circumstances. It is not legal at this time to transfer medical marijuana flower, trim, or any value-added medical marijuana products directly to adult use stores or to any other adult use licensees.

The Maine State Legislature considered a bill last session (LD 2091) that would have allowed for the transfer of marijuana flower and trim transfer in addition to the transfer of plants. However, the bill remains in purgatory due to the COVID-19 pandemic. There was not enough support in the Legislature for a special session, which means the Legislature will only reconvene at the Governor’s direction. Governor Mills has not provided any indication that she will make that call. While it is our understanding that the Office of Marijuana Policy intends to include this language in a new bill next session, the earliest we might see that bill would be January/February 2021, several months after marijuana stores are allowed to open.

Under the adult use marijuana statute as it currently stands, a Maine registered caregiver or dispensary can only complete a one-time transfer of medical marijuana plants to a single licensed adult use marijuana cultivation facility. It is important for participants in Maine’s medical marijuana program to understand that they cannot transact more than one sale of marijuana plants (defined as “all species of the plant genus cannabis including, but not limited to, a mother plant, a mature marijuana plant, an immature plant or a seedling…”) or marijuana seeds, and cannot sell any of the above to more than one cultivation facility licensee. While an adult use marijuana cultivation facility may purchase medical marijuana plants from multiple registered caregivers and dispensaries, they may only do so if a principal of their business is also a currently registered participant in Maine’s medical marijuana program.

The transfer rules are complicated, and we recommend reaching out to an attorney to discuss the details of your plan if you intend to engage in one of these transactions.  

If you have any questions about how to comply with medical and adult use marijuana laws in Maine, please reach out to a member of our Licensing and Regulatory Compliance division.