Overall Card ME Implementation Steps for Community Groups

The Card ME Program is voluntary and designed to provide you and liquor licensees with practical information and tools to improve capacity for responsible alcohol sales/service in your community. Below are the steps the Card ME Program recommends take to support local liquor licensees in lowering their overall risk of illegal alcohol sales or service. Underage alcohol sales/service may result in costly fines, higher insurance rates, and/or liability issues for liquor licensees and also impacts the health and safety of young people in your community.

For a detailed explanation on how to implement Card ME, read through the Implementation Guide WORD or PDF.

Below are the overall steps for implementing Card ME in communities:

Step 1: Review the available Card ME Program materials (On-Premise Licensees l Off-Premise Licensees ) & read the Card ME Guide (there are two versions of the guide: On-Premise l Off-Premise) to learn about best practices and tools for responsible alcohol sales/service which could complement licensee’s existing efforts. Assess what your organization’s capacity is to implement Card ME and with how many licensees. Determine how your will approach licensees to share the availability of the Card ME Program with them.

Step 2: Make initial contact with local licensees. Stress that the implementation of Card ME is just one of the many strategies your coalition is implementing as part of a comprehensive approach to reducing underage alcohol use in your community. Recognize that being a liquor licensee comes with many challenges and demands including:

  • Employee turnover is often high
  • Training time is often part of a working shift which comes with constraints and distractions
  • Employee morale & sense of personal investment in business or community can vary
  • Shifts often result in management not seeing staff in person consistently & staff may work alone or unsupervised at times
  • Need to balance product inventory & ordering, merchandising, accounting, customer services, maintenance, etc.

Step 3: Orientate the licensee to the Checklist process to assess their existing responsible alcohol sales/service system and to learn about best practices which may complement existing efforts. Offer to assist them with completing the checklist and that you will not be judging or “grading” them on their responses; rather your goal is to use the information to help identify which best practices and Card ME Program tools may best meet their needs.

Step 4: Support licensees in ordering and utilizing the Card ME Program materials to develop and implement an on-going system which uses more “best practices”. As necessary, refer to the appropriate Card ME Guide for licensees to learn about best practices for selling alcohol for that type of licensee ( On-Premise l Off-Premise). Encourage the licensee to be very detailed in their plans to implement a best practice by answering: Who? What? When? Where? Why? and How? Encourage them to get feedback on their plan from others at their establishment and/or to engage other employees in the plan’s development.

Step 5: Periodically check in with licensees participating in Card ME Program to determine if they need additional program materials, tools, or support. Revisit the checklist with licensees who completed one within 6 months of implementing the improvement plan. This allows for you both to measure change, adjust the implementation of best practices as necessary, and to revisit Card ME Program materials that may best meet the licensee’s needs.

Step 6: Work with the licensees and the Office of Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services to evaluate if the program is having an impact in your community.

Interested in learning more?

Please contact the Office of Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services at TSUP.DHHS@maine.gov to inquire about training and/or technical assistance which may be available to help you to prepare to utilize the Card ME Program in your community.

For more information, you may review the "Implementing The Card ME Program" presentation slides PDF