For Immediate Release: Friday, April 19, 2019
Contact: David Heidrich, (207) 624-7491
Director of Engagement and Community Outreach, Office of Marijuana Policy

Office of Marijuana Policy Announces Agreement with BOTEC Analysis

BOTEC Analysis withdraws appeal of rulemaking contract and commits to engaging with the State of Maine and Freedman & Koski on rulemaking work.

AUGUSTA – The Office of Marijuana Policy, a part of the Maine Department of Administrative and Financial Services, today announced that the office has partnered with BOTEC Analysis to provide an additional layer of rule review as OMP prepares to launch that state’s regulated marijuana market.

In December 2018, BOTEC was announced as the recipient of a conditional contract award for rulemaking services. The conditional award was withdrawn by the State of Maine after an appeal by Freedman & Koski raised questions about the review and scoring process and risked delay in implementing Maine’s Marijuana Legalization Act. BOTEC then appealed an award to Freedman & Koski during a second competitive procurement for consulting services.

OMP executed a contract to commence rulemaking work with Freedman & Koski on March 22, 2019, and rulemaking work has been underway throughout the last month, with an appeal from BOTEC pending. After postponing an April 5, 2019 appeal hearing, and given the tight timelines to complete rulemaking and the public’s interest in seeing the black market diminished, BOTEC and OMP worked to reach a mutually acceptable arrangement that would allow the firm to formally assist the office in Maine’s rulemaking activity. As a result, BOTEC has withdrawn its appeal of the rulemaking contract, allowing OMP to move forward in an expeditious manner.

“We are excited to have the opportunity to leverage BOTEC’s knowledge and experience,” said OMP Director Erik Gundersen. “BOTEC is well known for its expertise in designing policies that shrink the illicit market and avoid unintended public-health consequences. With Freedman & Koski under contract to develop Maine’s rules and BOTEC providing independent analysis of the proposed rules during our internal review process, the Office of Marijuana Policy is working with the nation’s two leading cannabis consulting firms.”

The BOTEC team will be led by Mark A.R. Kleiman, a nationally-recognized drug policy expert who is a professor of public policy at New York University and the principal of BOTEC Analysis.

“We look forward to helping Maine’s Office of Marijuana Policy create the best-in-class system for regulating legal cannabis,” added Mr. Kleiman.

The Freedman & Koski team is led by Andrew Freedman, the State of Colorado’s first director of cannabis coordination under former Governor John Hickenlooper and co-founder and senior director of Freedman & Koski. The firm has partnered with Advocates for Human Potential to develop Maine’s rules with OMP.

“We are pleased to partner with the State of Maine on this important project,” said Mr. Freedman. “BOTEC and Freedman & Koski have a positive working relationship. The public will benefit from our combined efforts.”

Work on rule development will continue in earnest throughout the month, with a stated goal of delivering the final draft rules to the 129th Legislature prior to the adjournment of the First Regular Session in June.

“Since establishing the Office of Marijuana Policy in February, we have been working at a breakneck pace to complete the work necessary to establish the regulatory and licensing regime that will govern adult use marijuana,” said Director Gundersen. “We recognize that getting it right is just as important as getting it done quickly, and we look forward to working with these two firms to see that Maine’s rules are written well and implemented effectively.”

In the first 100 days of the Mills Administration, DAFS has made significant progress in implementing the Marijuana Legalization Act. Under the leadership of Director Erik Gundersen, DAFS established OMP to oversee all aspects of legalized marijuana. Key staff have already been hired, with additional hiring ongoing, and the Maine Medical Use of Marijuana Program has been formally transitioned to OMP.