For Immediate Release: Friday, June 26, 2020
Contact: David Heidrich
Director of Engagement and Community Outreach, Office of Marijuana Policy
AUGUSTA – Today, the Office of Marijuana Policy announced it has completed emergency rulemaking related to the collection of samples for testing by adult use marijuana testing facilities. Completion of this important work establishes additional administrative regulations by which samples of marijuana and marijuana products can be collected for Maine’s forthcoming adult use industry.
The rulemaking activity was necessitated following changes to state law resulting from Public Laws 2019, Chapter 676. Governor Janet T. Mills signed LD 1545, An Act Regarding the Collection of Samples for Testing of Adult Use Marijuana and Adult Use Marijuana Products, into law on March 23, 2020.
This legislation authorizes the Department of Administrative and Financial Services, and by extension OMP, to license and regulate the operation of a newly-created adult use entity known as sample collectors. These individuals will be permitted to collect samples of marijuana and marijuana products for testing on behalf of marijuana testing facilities and other adult use establishments. It also authorizes an adult use licensee and their employees to satisfy the mandatory testing requirements of the Marijuana Legalization Act by self-sampling from their inventory and delivering those samples to a marijuana testing facility until October 1, 2021.
“Since the COVID-19 pandemic, OMP has been operating at full capacity supporting both the existing medical program and forthcoming adult use program,” said OMP Director Erik Gundersen. “On the adult use side, we are continuing to accept applications, issue conditional licenses, and remain focused on doing everything in our power to move swiftly when we are able to launch this new industry. Completing this administrative rulemaking is an important step for industry stakeholders and shows that progress continues to be made.”
Previously, licensed adult use testing facilities were exclusively responsible for the collection of samples of recreational marijuana in Maine. This mandate would have required the staff of a testing facility to travel to every licensed adult use establishment in Maine required to engage in testing to collect samples of the licensee's adult use marijuana before testing could be conducted, a potentially burdensome requirement at program launch given Maine’s unique geography.
To address a potential bottleneck in the sample collection process, OMP worked with the legislature and industry stakeholders to develop this solution. Based on strong support received when the legislature considered this proposal, OMP began drafting the new administrative rules prior to the adjournment of the legislature in March.
The rules were emergency adopted and are effective until at least Tuesday, September 22, 2020. The new regulations can be found in 18-691 C.M.R. ch. 1, the Adult Use Marijuana Program Rule, and 18-691 C.M.R. ch. 5, the Rules for the Certification of Marijuana Testing Facilities.
Simultaneous to their emergency adoption, OMP has proposed to complete routine technical rulemaking that will make these additions permanent. A public hearing is scheduled via Zoom for Wednesday, July 29, 2020 at 10:00AM EDT. A link will be sent out to participants prior to the date of the public hearing. Interested parties should contact OMP if they would like to attend or participate in the public hearing. OMP will be accepting public comments from now until 5:00PM EDT on Monday, August 10, 2020. More information on the public comment period can be found via the OMP website: https://www.maine.gov/dafs/omp/adult-use/rules-statutes/rulemaking/proposed-rules.
The Mills Administration created OMP within DAFS in February 2019. The Office is responsible for the oversight of all aspects of legalized marijuana, including Maine's existing Medical Use of Marijuana Program.