For Immediate Release: Friday, March 1, 2019
Contact: David Heidrich, (207) 624-7800
Director of Communications, Department of Administrative and Financial Services
Office of Marijuana Policy Announces New RFP for Seed-to-Sale Provider
State of Maine withdraws contract with Metrc, will conduct a competitive procurement for a unified marijuana tracking solution.
AUGUSTA – The Office of Marijuana Policy (OMP), a part of the Maine Department of Administrative and Financial Services (DAFS), today announced plans to seek bidders to provide a seed-to-sale tracking system for the adult-use marijuana and the Maine Medical Use of Marijuana programs.
DAFS announced last month that it had entered into a three-year contract with Franwell, Inc. for marijuana track and trace services utilizing Metrc. The tracking solution would have been deployed in Maine’s medical program, with plans for amending that agreement at a later date to expand Metrc to adult-use recreational marijuana.
Maine’s adult-use marijuana industry is anticipated to be much larger than the current medical marijuana program, which consists of eight dispensaries and approximately 2,500 caregivers. As a result, counsel in the Office of the Attorney General encouraged OMP to conduct a request for proposals (RFP) for adult-use tracking services rather than risk time-consuming and costly litigation by amending the Department’s existing agreement to include Maine’s developing adult-use program.
In response to that counsel, and instead of attempting to press forward with a contract that would likely draw a challenge that would delay the implementation timeline, DAFS and OMP have opted to withdraw their contract award to Metrc and will competitively seek these services through a to-be-developed RFP. Consequently, the new procurement will not affect the implementation timeline for the adult-use recreational program.
“Today’s decision is made in the best interest of stakeholders in Maine’s legal marijuana industry and the state to ensure the implementation moves forward in an expeditious manner,” said OMP Director Erik Gundersen. “Our timeline for implementing adult-use rules remains unchanged, and the work of the Office of Marijuana Policy continues unabated. Qualified tracking providers that may be interested in providing these services to the State of Maine are encouraged to review the RFP when it is available.”
With the contract withdrawn, the track and trace introductory event scheduled for April 11, 2019 in Augusta is cancelled.
In November 2016, Maine voters approved the recreational use, retail sale and taxation of marijuana. In January 2017, the Maine Legislature placed a moratorium on certain parts of the law regarding retail sales and taxation, until February 2018, while a 17-member legislative committee worked to overhaul the Marijuana Legalization Act. The legislative language developed by that committee established a rough regulatory framework for adult-use, which became effective in May 2018.
The Department recently issued a conditional contract award for rulemaking consulting services. Once a contract is negotiated and signed, the Department will be able to begin the rulemaking process required by the Marijuana Legalization Act.