Supplemental Memorandum on Coronavirus (COVID-19) Civil Emergency

To: MMMP Registrants
From: Director Erik Gundersen
Date: Wednesday, April 1, 2020
Subject: Supplemental Memorandum on Coronavirus (COVID-19) Civil Emergency


On March 24, 2020, the Office of Cannabis Policy issued a memorandum on the coronavirus civil emergency in response to developments regarding the 2019 novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) and the resulting coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in Maine.

The purpose of this memorandum is to revise and supplement, where applicable, the information contained in the March 24 guidance memo.

Governor Mills Issues Stay Healthy at Home Mandate

Yesterday, Governor Janet T. Mills issued a series of substantial new mandates to protect public health and safety in the face of COVID-19, including a Stay Healthy at Home directive that requires people living in Maine to stay at home at all times unless for an essential job or an essential personal reason, such as obtaining food, medicine, health care, or other necessary purposes.

The Governor also placed new restrictions on essential businesses and operations that remain open, limiting the number of customers in their buildings at any one time, implementing curb-side pickup and delivery options as much as possible, and enforcing U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention-recommended physical distancing requirements for their customers and employees in and around their facilities.

Restricting Number of People in Essential Stores
Under the Executive Order, essential stores with retail spaces of:

  • Less than 7,500 square feet must limit the number of customers in the store at one time to 5.
  • More than 7,500 and less than 25,000 square feet must limit the number of customers in the store at one time to 15.

If applicable, additional tiers of square footage and customer limitations appear in the press release and executive order.

Retailers must enforce these limits and a six-foot separation between any customers waiting in lines, including those waiting in lines outside of a store.

Additional Obligations of Essential Stores
In addition, to reduce the risk of community spread, essential stores shall:

  • Implement and actively enforce social distancing requirements in and around their facilities.
  • Prominently post signage at all public entrances instructing customers to remain six feet away from other people inside and outside the store.
  • Mark every customer line with signage and floor lines designed to impose social distancing.
  • Disinfect the handles of every used cart and basket prior to customer reuse.
  • Take all reasonable steps to minimize customer handling of unpurchased merchandise.
  • Offer separate operating hours for persons over the age of 60 and customers with medical conditions to be the only customers in the store.

The Office of Cannabis Policy (OCP) had previously recommended that Maine Medical Cannabis Program (MMMP) registrants consider several of these steps. They are mandatory as of 12:01 a.m. on April 2, 2020, the effective date of the Executive Order. The Order will remain in effect until at least April 30, 2020.

Any essential business which violates the Executive Order will be subject to further on-site restrictions or closure until those violations are addressed. These new requirements adjust and mandate prior recommendations from the Governor regarding essential businesses and operations.

Clarification on Essential Business Designation for Caregivers and Dispensaries

As previously communicated by OCP, caregivers and dispensaries have been deemed essential and are exempt from COVID-19-related closures based on their classification as “other medical facilities”. This status remains unchanged.

However, since that guidance, the Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) has made an “essential service designation request” form available online. As MMMP registrants have previously been deemed essential, this service should not be utilized for the purposes of attempting to obtain a designation to accompany you or your staff during travel.

Some Expired State of Maine Driver’s Licenses and Identification Cards Extended During Civil Emergency

On Friday, Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap announced that credentials issued by the State of Maine’s Bureau of Motor Vehicles—among them driver’s licenses and identification cards—that expire within the current civil emergency period will be extended temporarily.

Accordingly, caregivers and dispensaries may accept Maine driver’s licenses or identification cards that expired on or after March 15, 2020. The expired Maine driver’s license or identification card must accompany a valid, unexpired patient certification. Similarly, OCP will accept these forms of identification for the purposes of registry identification card applications and renewals (i.e. caregiver, caregiver assistant, dispensary employee, etc.).

The Executive Order issued by Governor Mills deems these forms of identification extended until 30 days after the termination of the ongoing civil emergency.