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Coronavirus Outbreak Could Delay Maine Marijuana Launch

The launch of Maine’s new recreational cannabis industry could be delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic that has gripped the world.

The state’s first cannabis stores were supposed to open this month, but the launch was pushed back to June due to delays in the licensing process. Now it could be pushed back even further as the state shuts down non-essential services as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.

There have been 142 cases of COVID-19 so far in Maine. All non-essential businesses have been ordered to cease operations as authorities try to stop the disease’s spread.


Maine issues first round of conditional marijuana licenses

The Maine Office of Marijuana Policy issued its first round of conditional adult-use marijuana business licenses Friday, giving provisional approval to 31 businesses to open growing operations, manufacturing facilities and retail shops in 10 Maine cities and towns.

Conditional approval has been granted to one nursery, 10 growing operations, four manufacturing facilities and 16 retail stores. Approvals range from a single shop in Newry, one of Maine’s smallest towns, to seven companies that want to open 10 marijuana businesses in Portland, Maine’s biggest city.


Recreational Marijuana in Maine Delayed Three Months

State regulators in Maine expect legal sales of cannabis to begin in June, three months later than previously expected. Voters in the state legalized recreational cannabis more than three years ago with the approval of the Marijuana Legalization Act, a measure that was supposed to take effect within 40 days of its passage in 2016. 


Maine now expects retail marijuana stores won’t be open until June

Maine is planning to have its first recreational marijuana shops open in June, three months later than expected. State budget forecasters are banking on a robust kickoff, however, estimating $5 million in sales by the end of the month.

Maine is “very close” to issuing the first round of conditional recreational business licenses, said Erik Gundersen, the director of the Office of Marijuana Policy. It has received 197 applications so far; 80 of which have been deemed complete enough for regulatory review.


Maine Authorities Announce Plan For Cannabis Crimes Unit

Maine legalized cannabis back in 2017, but its law enforcement officials want to be clear that not all uses of the drug are acceptable. On Monday, the commissioner of the state’s Department of Public Safety Michael Sauschuck announced a plan to create a new squad to fight cannabis-related crimes that will cost $649,000 a year. 

“As other states have seen, there is absolutely a time and place for enforcement,” said Sauschuck. 


Maine Lawmakers Seek to Implement Privacy Provisions for Marijuana Businesses

Maine lawmakers will consider a proposal to provide a cloak of secrecy over the state’s forthcoming recreational marijuana industry. 

The bill, L.D. 2091, which was authored by state regulators, would exempt trade secrets, security and operating procedures that cannabis businesses provided to the state from public records law. 

The state contends that the legislation would enshrine protections for a marijuana company’s proprietary information, such as a recipe for a weed edible. 


How Much Cannabis Each State Sold in First Month of Legal Sales

Illinois dispensaries sold nearly $40 million dollars with of cannabis in the first 31 days of recreational cannabis sales, according to new numbers released last week.

The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation announced the number on Feb. 3. Officials said the final total of $39,247,840.83 came from the sale of 972,045 cannabis products at licensed retailers across the state.


Maine’s First Recreational Cannabis Businesses Could Open This Spring

Maine officials have deemed dozens of applications to run marijuana businesses to be complete, a major step on the way to the first legal sales of the drug for recreational adult use.

Mainers voted in favor of legal recreational marijuana use and sales in 2016, and the state is in the process of approving licenses for the first businesses. The state began the process of deeming more than 70 applications complete in late January, said David Heidrich, spokesman for the Maine Office of Marijuana Policy.


Maine’s Hemp Farmers Want To Grow Their Businesses But Rules Still Loom

Hemp growers in Maine are concerned that new rules governing the crop could hold back the growth of an industry that is already the largest in New England.

States around the country are grappling with the changing legal landscape surrounding hemp since the 2018 Farm Bill directed the U.S. Department of Agriculture to create national regulations for the product of the plant. The popularity of products made from hemp-derived cannabidiol, or CBD, has fueled the growth.


Maine hemp farmers want relaxed THC rules, lower fees

Farmers are speaking out against Maine’s plan to adopt stricter, more costly hemp farming rules, urging state agriculture officials to lower licensing costs and not change how they measure the small amount of psychoactive element found in this cannabis crop.

Maine wants to change how it defines hemp, and how it differentiates it from marijuana, to echo stricter federal guidelines on how much THC is allowed by using a federal formula that reduces the small amount of psychoactive element that has been allowed in Maine hemp since 2014.


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