For Immediate Release: Thursday, August 12, 2021
Contact: David Heidrich, (207) 287-3282
Director of Engagement and Community Outreach, Office of Marijuana Policy
AUGUSTA – Today, the Office of Marijuana Policy announced the introduction of new applications intended to assist business owners operating within the State of Maine’s Medical Use of Marijuana Program. The two-part effort sees the addition of existing medical marijuana caregiver applications to the state’s online licensing system while simultaneously introducing a brand-new application for individuals and businesses seeking to operate medical marijuana dispensaries in Maine.
The introduction of dispensary applications in Maine represents the first time in more than 11 years that this category of business registrations has been publicly available. As a result of a law change initiated in 2018, the number of dispensaries is no longer limited to the eight registrations issued through a competitive bidding process in 2010.
“Patients choosing to treat their medical conditions and symptoms with cannabis stand to benefit from the increased access to affordable medical marijuana offered by this registration type,” said Erik Gundersen, director of Maine’s Office of Marijuana Policy. “Registered caregivers, several of whom have grown their businesses to the limits allowed by current law, and newcomers alike will be well-positioned to utilize the dispensary registration to grow their businesses within Maine’s medical marijuana program.”
Physical dispensary applications are available on the Office of Marijuana Policy’s website in three parts: business application, local authorization, and an inherently hazardous substances authorization. At a minimum, interested dispensary applicants must provide OCP with a completed business application, approved local authorization form, and an application fee of $5,000 for each dispensary they are seeking to operate. In addition, a completed registry identification card application and Maine Revenue Services tax clearance form must be completed and submitted for every owner and manager of the dispensary before the application will be considered complete and vetted by OCP licensing staff.
If appropriate for their business models, registered medical cannabis caregivers may choose to convert their registration type to dispensaries. For those choosing to continue operating as caregivers, OCP has added initial and renewal caregiver applications to the state’s online licensing system. This milestone marks the first time in the medical program’s history that applications have been available electronically.
“With the addition of caregiver applications to the state’s electronic licensing system, our program registrants will now receive e-mail reminders to renew their registrations and the opportunity to complete their submissions online,” added Gundersen. “We hope that these improvements allow them to spend more time focusing on serving Maine patients and successfully operating their businesses.”
Due to the ongoing federal prohibition of cannabis and limited access to traditional banking, application payments must still be made in-person or by mail in the form of a cashier’s check or money order.
Both dispensaries and caregivers may conduct sales to medical marijuana patients in Maine. While the term dispensary is used colloquially to describe a retail setting where individuals may purchase cannabis, in Maine it is a unique registration type among the medical marijuana program. Registered caregivers may operate caregiver retail stores. Adult use retailers operate marijuana stores.
The Office, a division of the Department of Administrative & Financial Services, is responsible for the oversight of all aspects of legalized marijuana in Maine, including Maine’s medical and adult-use programs.