Maine hemp growers unexpectedly dropped by bank, insurance company

A few weeks ago, Sheepscot General Store and Farm in Whitefield was making headlines for its innovative "U-pick hemp," a crop that was legalized under the 2018 USDA farm bill. Now the story is one of uncertainty as the family farm finds itself in limbo with its bank and its insurance company both planning to drop the farm.

It should be an exciting time for a farmer: the moment when the farm starts to recoup a bit of its investment. But that’s not the case for Ben And Taryn Marcus right now. They have got buyers interested in 1500 plants in their drying shed, and they've also got a problem.


Maine adopts symbol for cannabis products

The state of Maine has adopted a symbol that’ll be used on marijuana products sold for adult consumption.

The Maine Office of Marijuana Policy partnered with the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission to unveil a shared universal symbol for marijuana and marijuana products.


Slow rollout in marijuana sales costs Maine revenue and jobs

From legalization to legal sales, Maine is inching toward the slowest adult-use marijuana rollout in the U.S., with economists saying the three-year wait for stores to open will have cost Maine more than $82 million in taxes and 6,100 industry jobs.

The delay has caused some investors and industry experts to take their dollars and skills to other states, consultants say. Many of those who remain behind, committed to Maine, are spending cash they haven’t got to be ready for a market launch that is two years longer than average.


Maine farmers look to reap benefits from hemp industry

After years of prohibition, federal regulations have made it legal to grow hemp in the U.S. again, and many Maine farmers hope to cultivate success in this fledgling market.

Though hemp comes from the marijuana plant, by itself it does not have the same effect.

Since the December enactment of the 2018 Farm Bill, which declassified hemp as a controlled substance, the number of hemp growers in Maine has grown exponentially.

According to figures from the state’s department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, in 2016 – the first year Maine issued growing licenses – there were two licensed growers for 0.25 acres. In 2019, there are roughly 170 licensed growers for 2,700 acres. The counties with the most grow sites are Somerset, with 42, and Oxford, with 25.


Maine on track for legal marijuana sales by spring 2020

Maine marijuana enthusiasts will probably be able to purchase their preferred products in retail stores by March 2020 after years of waiting.

Voters approved legal adult-use marijuana at the polls in November 2016, and the road to legal sales has been long and bumpy.

But a key act passed by the Legislature is now in effect, and that means the Maine Office of Marijuana Policy is in a position to complete final adoption of marijuana rules, said David Heidrich, an office spokesman.

The act made tweaks to Maine's Marijuana Legalization Act that were necessary for the marijuana office to adopt the rules, which it is expected to do within two months. That means it will likely be able to accept applications for retail marijuana sales by the end of 2019, Heidrich said.


Maine’s first pick-your-own hemp field opens in Whitefield

With pruning shears in hand and a laundry hamper on her hip, Khadijah Tribble roamed rows of waist-high cannabis in search of the perfect hemp plant – robust foliage, no bugs, and enough flowers to make CBD lotions and tinctures for the elders in her church community.

The community activist made the six-hour, 300-mile round trip from her home in Salem, Massachusetts,  just to visit Sheepscot General Farm in Whitefield, which on Wednesday opened the first pick-your-own hemp field in Maine. It is believed to be only the second publicly accessible hemp field in the U.S.


Confusion reigns as Maine rolls out its marijuana tracking system

The state marijuana industry didn’t like what it saw when it got its first look at Maine’s new track-and-trace system Monday: hundreds and hundreds of 25-cent tags required to catalog every plant’s path to pre-rolled joint, vape cartridge or infused candy.

“This will drive prices through the roof,” said medical marijuana caregiver Dawson Julia of Unity. “It’s going to put a lot of people out of business. It will make medicine so expensive that nobody will be able to afford it. It will guarantee the survival of the black market.”


Portland, Maine unveils proposed rules for cannabis businesses

Portland officials unveiled a proposed licensing regime for adult use and medical marijuana operations on Friday that would cap the number of retail stores at 20 citywide and possibly lead to more restrictions on medical marijuana dispensaries.

The proposed rules, which recommend a $10,000 a year annual license for marijuana retail stores, will receive an initial review by City Council’s Health & Human Services and Public Safety and its Economic Development committees on Tuesday. No votes or public hearings are expected and it’s unclear when the committees will make a recommendation to the full council.


Maine governor signs recreational marijuana regulatory framework into effect

Maine residents approved legal recreational marijuana back in 2016, but have been waiting on the government to approve a regulatory framework for the industry. Happily, the end of that wait is now in sight. Governor Janet Mills has signed into effect a law establishing cannabis industry guidelines that is set to take effect in September. That means the state’s first marijuana sales could take place as soon as early 2020. 


Maine Governor signs rules to finally allow cannabis sales

Maine Gov. Janet Mills signed a bill Thursday setting up a legal framework for the sale of recreational marijuana to adults as early as next year.

Her office said Thursday that the state’s Office of Marijuana Policy plans to accept applications for licenses by the end of 2019. The Democratic governor said her administration has worked quickly to implement the voter-approved law since she took office earlier this year.

The state’s voters chose to legalize both the use and sale of recreational marijuana among adults in November 2016, but months of delays and political squabbles have slowed the implementation of a commercial industry. The state now has a legal road map for marijuana to arrive in stores as soon as early 2020.


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