This document is intended to provide an overview of Maine cannabis regulations as they apply to growers, processors, labs, and dispensaries. It includes some basic information on how to get a marijuana business license in Maine as well as a comprehensive list of links to forms and applications and additional resources. This information was last updated on 1/3/2019.
Maine's medical cannabis law was first passed in 1999. However, the measure allowed patients to grow their own plants and the regulations related only to medical marijuana. Although marijuana was decriminalized in Maine it was not legalized for adult use until 2016.
In November 2016, Maine voters approved a measure calling for the legalization, taxation, and regulation of marijuana in a manner similar to alcohol. Subsequently, marijuana legalization bills went through numerous rewrites only to get vetoed on the first round. Then in 2018, Maine lawmakers overrode the governor’s veto and enacted legal code LD 1719, An Act to Implement a Regulatory Structure for Adult Use Marijuana. The move made Maine the 8th state to legalize recreational marijuana. Information about the bill can be found here.
P.L. 2017, ch. 409 took effect on in May of 2018 enacting Title 28-B of the Maine Revised Statutes and repealed 7 M.R.S.A. Chapter 417. As stated in the preamble of P.L. 2017, ch. 409, the measure was intended to "to facilitate the timely implementation of a retail marketplace in the State for adult-use marijuana and adult-use marijuana products, the agencies charged by law with the implementation, administration, and enforcement of the Marijuana Legalization Act must adopt rules in accordance with that Act and the Legislature must review those rules in accordance with the Maine Administrative Procedure Act as soon as is practicable."
On June 27, 2019, Governor Mills signed into law 129th LD 719, which became P.L. 2019, ch. 491. Among other changes to Maine's adult-use marijuana laws, P.L. 2019, ch. 491 requires several changes to the provisionally adopted rules.
The final rules are not expected to be finalized until early 2020.
Maine’s combined medical and recreational cannabis market is projected to top $252 million in its second year of recreational cannabis sales.
Maine Recreational Marijuana Regulations
Main Marijuana Business Licensing
Maine’s Department of Administrative and Financial Services handles licensing and regulations for all of the state’s marijuana businesses. DAVF is required to consult with the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry when developing regulations regarding cultivation, manufacturing, and testing. They are also required to confer with the Department of Public Safety about any rules concerning public safety or law enforcement.
There are four types of cannabis businesse licenses in the state
- Marijuana stores
- Cultivation facilities
- Products manufacturers
- Testing laboratories
Cultivation licensing will have four tiers. Subject to the requirements and restrictions of this subchapter and the requirements of subchapter 2, the department may issue to an applicant any of the following types of cultivation facility licenses:
- Tier 1 cultivation facility license - A tier 1 cultivation facility license allows cultivation by a licensee of not more than 30 mature marijuana plants and an unlimited number of immature marijuana plants and seedlings; or not more than 500 square feet of plant canopy.
- Tier 2 cultivation facility license - A tier 2 cultivation facility license allows cultivation by a licensee of not more than 2,000 square feet of plant canopy.
- Tier 3 cultivation facility license - A tier 3 cultivation facility license allows cultivation by a licensee of not more than 7,000 square feet of plant canopy
- Tier 4 cultivation facility license - A tier 4 cultivation facility license allows cultivation by a licensee of not more than 20,000 square feet of plant canopy, except as provided in section 304. In some cases, tier 4 licensees may apply for an increase of 7,000 square feet of plant canopy every two years.
- Nursery cultivation facility license - A nursery cultivation facility license allows cultivation by a licensee of not more than 1,000 square feet of plant canopy, subject to the requirements and restrictions of section 501, subsection 3.
In some cases, tier 4 licensees may apply for an increase of 7,000 square feet of plant canopy every two years.
Maine marijuana license application regulations
With the exception of testing laboratories, all Maine marijuana license applicants must be residents of the state. Furthermore, is a business owned by a corporate entity, all officers, directors, managers, and general partners must be residents. Moreover, a majority of shares must be owned by residents.
Basic qualifications for a Maine cannabis license:
- Must be at least 21 years of age
- Must not have been convicted of a drug offense that carries a maximum penalty of a year or more, unless the person completed their entire sentence at least 10 years prior or the offense was for marijuana-related conduct that has been legalized
- May not be employed by a state agency with a regulatory role
- May not be employed as a law enforcement or corrections officer
- May not have had a prior marijuana business license or medical marijuana ID card or license revoked
- Does not owe outstanding court-ordered payments.
Specific application requirements:
Main, cultivation license applicants are required to submit an operation and cultivation plan along with their application. The plans need to include the size and layout of the facility. Plans for water, electricity, wastewater and waste disposal are also required as are security plans and plans for compliance with building code and environmental laws.
No license applicant may have a direct or indirect financial interest in more than three Maine cannabis business licenses. Furthermore, until January 1, 2022, applicants are not permitted to have an interest or license in more than four marijuana stores.
The department is required to issue a conditional license to qualified applicants within 90 days of the date of submission of the application. However, cultivation applicants may not begin growing until the are actually awarded an active license.
Maine Cannabis Regulations
All licensees are required to comply with Department-issued regulations. That includes regulations related to packaging, labeling, health and safety, and sanitation.
- Testing - All marijuana products must be submitted to testing before they are sold. Tests must include THC potency, homogeneity, and cannabinoid profiles, as well as testing for residual solvents, toxins, harmful chemicals, dangerous molds and mildew, harmful microbes, pesticides, fungicides, and insecticides.
- Packaging and labeling - Marijuana products may not be packaged or labeled in a way that causes confusion with a trademarked product or a package designed to appeal to minors. Moreover, packages must not have images of humans, animals, or fruit on the packaging or the label.
Marijuana products must be packaged in opaque packaging.
Labels must include the following:
- Health and safety warning labels
- THC potency and cannabinoid profile information
- information on any gases, solvents, and chemicals used in marijuana extraction
- instructions on usage
- Ingredients including possible allergens
- Recommended use-by and expiration dates
- A nutritional fact panel
- The license number of the cultivation facility, products manufacturer, and store
- A batch number
- All products must be packaged in child-resistant and tamper-evident packaging or placed in such packaging at the point of sale
- Liquids with multiple servings require an integral measurement component and a child-resistant cap
- Signs, advertising, and marketing - All licensees must comply with the Department’s regulations relating to signage, advertising, and marketing.
- Advertising may not be misleading, false, or deceptive
- May not make health claims of any kind
- Must not have a high likelihood of reaching persons under 21 years of age
- Must not be designed to appeal to persons on 21
- Banner advertising on mass-market websites is prohibited
- School buffers - Neither marijuana establishments nor marijuana signs or advertising may not be located within 1,000 feet of a pre-existing school, unless the municipality has implemented a smaller buffer zone (must be at least 500 feet).
- Tracking - The department is required to administer a cannabis track-and-trace system, that will facilitate seed-to-sale tracking.
- Sampling - Some sampling of marijuana products is allowed off-site for both employees (for quality control, through non-smoked means) and between licensees (for business and marketing purposes).
- Staff registration - Before any licensee can have a new owner, officer, manager, or employee, the licensee must notify regulators, and the person must submit to a criminal records check and get an ID card. The department must approve the transfer of ownership interests.
Regulations specific to cultivation facilities:
- Purchase of seeds and plants - For two years after cultivation facilities are first licensed, they may purchase seeds and plants from marijuana dispensaries and primary caregivers.
- Medical vs. recreational - An adult-use cultivation facility may also operate as a medical marijuana dispensary. Adult-use and medical cannabis are required to be separated into different cultivation areas.
- Tagging - All plants must have a tag specifying whether it is intended for medical or adult-use.
Regulations specific to products manufacturers:
- Hazardous substances - Products manufacturers may only perform extractions with inherently hazardous substances if the department reviews and approves the licensee’s plan. Licensees using hazardous substances must submit certifications from an industrial hygienist or professional engineer based on a review of storage, preparation, electrical, gas monitoring, fire suppression, and exhaust systems.
- Edibles manufacturing - A commercial kitchen license is required for areas producing marijuana products. Edible marijuana products:
- may not contain more than 10 milligrams of THC per serving
- may not contain more than 100 milligrams of THC per package
- may not be manufactured in the shape of a human, animal, or fruit
- may not be added to a trademarked product, unless that product is a component in the edible and it’s not marketed as containing it
- may not include additives that are toxic or harmful, designed to make the product more addictive, or designed to appeal to persons who are under 21
- must have a universal symbol stamped or embossed on each serving
Regulations specific to testing facilities
Testing facilities must follow all regulations, including those related to recordkeeping, disposal, and testing protocol, as well as standards for the testing of different products, determining batch size, sampling, testing validity, and approval of tested products. Rules must also include acceptance testing and research practices, including related to remediation and retesting, quality control analysis, equipment certification and calibration, chemical identification, and reporting of test results.
- Accreditation - Testing facilities must be accredited pursuant to standard ISO/IEC 17025 of the International Organization for Standardization by a third-party accrediting body or another organization approved by regulators.
- Conflicts of interest - Those with interests in a testing facility may not have an interest in other Maine marijuana businesses, including medical marijuana, except for other laboratories.
Regulations specific to marijuana stores:
Only licensed marijuana stores may sell directly to consumers. Cultivation facilities and product manufacturers may also operate licensed marijuana stores. Marijuana stores may sell marijuana, marijuana products, seedlings and immature marijuana plants, marijuana paraphernalia, and non-marijuana products (such as apparel). Employees must check purchasers’ IDs to ensure they are at least 21 years old.
- Marijuana stores may not:
- operate as a medical marijuana dispensary or primary caregiver at the same location as the adult-use marijuana store
- use a delivery service, vending machine, drive-through window, or internet-based sales platform
- sell to a person who is visibly intoxicated
- sell or give away products with tobacco and alcohol that do not include cannabis
- give away adult-use marijuana products or plants
- sell or give away mature marijuana plants
- sell an amount of marijuana that exceeds that person’s limit (apart from non-edible products without THC).
On its own initiative or after receiving and investigating a complaint, the department may suspend or revoke a license or impose a monetary penalty.
The department will adopt regulations for monetary penalties. They may be no more than $10,000 per minor violation, no more than $50,000 per major violation, and no more than $100,000 per major violation affecting public safety.
The department must first afford the licensee an opportunity to be heard.
Local authorization are required for all cannabis businesses. Furthermore, marijuana establishments can only operate in municipalities that have enacted an ordinance allowing that type of marijuana business.
Maine Marijuana Business Application and Licensing Fees
Maine marijuana license application fees are as follows:
- Marijuana stores, products manufacturers, and testing facilities - $250
- Nurseries - $60
- Cultivation facilities - range from $100 for tier 1 to $500 for tier 4
Annual licensing fees are as follows:
- Marijuana stores and product manufacturers - no more than $2,500
- Testing facilities - no more than $1,000
- Nurseries - $350.
- Tier 1cultivators — no more than $250 for outdoor cultivation (or $9 per mature plant if they elect a plant-based cap), or no more than $500 for indoor cultivation (or $17 per mature plant).
- Tier 4 — no more than $15,000 for outdoor cultivation and not more than $30,000 for indoor cultivation. However, the department may increase these amounts if the department approves a larger canopy count.
Additional resources for recreational
- Maine Recreational Marijuana Rules and Statutes
- Maine Recreational Marijuana Applications and Forms
- Maine Recreational Marijuana Certification Process
- Maine Recreational Marijuana Pesticides
- Maine Recreational Marijuana Dispensaries
- Maine Recreational Marijuana Contact
- Maine Medical Marijuana Rules and Statutes
- Maine Medical Marijuana Applications and Forms
- Maine Medical Marijuana Application Process
Office of Marijuana Policy
162 State House Station
Augusta, ME 04333
Phone: (207) 287-3282
Fax: (207) 287-2671