Licensing & Inspection

Who needs a nursery license?

Any business or individual in the state of Maine offering plants for sale must have a license to sell nursery stock (Title 7 MRSA sec. 2171).

  • Businesses selling only cutflowers or cut Christmas trees do not require a license.
  • A license must be obtained for each location where nursery stock is sold; a single company with multiple outlets will need more than one nursery license.
  • Businesses that are found to be selling plants and fail to obtain a license may be subject to a fine of up to $500.

Nursery Stock Definition

Nursery stock is defined as (Title 7 MRSA sec. 2211):

  • woody plants (trees, shrubs, vines etc.) and
  • herbaceous plants (bulbs, annuals, perennials, vegetable seedlings, houseplants, etc.) and
  • hemp seedlings/clones (see additional information below), but
  • does not include cutflowers, cut christmas trees or medical/adult use marijuana.

Licensing Process

  • Licenses are issued for the calendar year and need to be renewed each January.
  • Renewal license applications are mailed to current licensees at the end of November.
  • To apply for a license fill out an application and send it in with the appropriate license fee.
  • Nursery License Application (PDF 22KB)

License Fees

  • $25 per license (sales location) for most businesses
  • $5 per license (sales location) for some small businesses (those selling less than $500 in plant material a year AND having less than 150 SqFt of retail sales area)
  • Educational institutions (schools) selling plants must obtain a license, but are exempt from the licensing fee.
  • License Fee Rule (DOC 27KB)


Inspecting plants for sale helps prevent the spread of pests that can easily move from one area to another on plant material and helps to ensure the sale of healthy plants to the end consumer.

  • All businesses selling plants are subject to inspection. (Title 7 MRSA sec. 2213)
  • Most businesses are inspected annually, but inspections may be conducted more or less frequently

When inspecting, horticulture staff survey the growing and sales area for:

The inspector fills out an inspection report and reviews the report with the owner or grower to address and discuss any areas of concern and answer any questions from identifying a pest to understanding a regulation. The horticulture staff has a broad knowledge base and is happy to share that knowledge to help growers improve their operations.

Hemp Seedling/Clone Requirements

Businesses selling hemp seedlings/clones must:

  • have a certificate of analysis from a third-party ISO 17025 accredited laboratory that indicates the parent plant seed source tested at or below 0.3% delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) on a dry weight basis
  • only sell immature seedlings/clones. No plants offered for sale may be more that 12 inches tall AND must not have any inflorescence. Plants that grow larger than 12 inches or begin to flower must be destroyed or taken home for personal use only
  • only sell up to three hemp seedlings/clones to a customer for personal use only. Exception: unlimited numbers of seedlings/clones may be sold to licensed hemp growers.


If you wish to keep hemp plants in your greenhouse beyond the seedling stage (over 12 inches in height or with flowers forming), you will need an Indoor Hemp License. Businesses producing or selling mature hemp plants must:

  • Apply for an Indoor Hemp License at least 30 days before plants are 12-inches tall or start flowering
  • If you wish to sell flowering hemp plants to the public, you must wait to sell the plants until after THC sampling results indicate the plants are at or below 0.3% delta-9-THC by weight.
  • only sell up to three plants to a customer for personal use only
  • Up to three mature personal use plants may be kept in the greenhouse without obtaining an Indoor Hemp License, but those plants must not be placed into commerce.
  • More information on hemp licensing

Medical or Adult Use Marijuana

To grow and sell medical or adult use marijuana, you must obtain licensing from the Office of Marijuana Policy