Maine’s Office of Marijuana Policy on track to begin accepting applications for recreational marijuana licenses by the end of 2019.
Governor Janet Mills today signed into law LD 719, An Act Regarding Adult Use Marijuana. The bill, which the Legislature enacted last week, makes changes to the Marijuana Legalization Act (MLA) and approves, with changes, the provisionally adopted major substantive rules developed by the Mills Administration.
The Office of Marijuana Policy (OMP), a part of the Maine Department of Administrative and Financial Services (DAFS), developed the rules as part of a collaborative effort between state agencies, OMP’s rulemaking consulting team, the public, and industry stakeholders who all participated in the public comment process.
"Over the course of the last several months, my Administration has worked quickly to implement the law regarding Maine’s adult-use recreational marijuana market as Maine voters asked the state to do two and a half years ago," said Governor Mills. "The rule development demonstrates what can be accomplished when state government works with lawmakers, industry stakeholders, and the public to accomplish a shared goal. With this law, we are one step closer to honoring the will of Maine voters."
OMP consulted with seven different state agencies consisting of the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry; Department of Health and Human Services; Department of Labor; Department of Public Safety; Department of Environmental Protection; Department of Professional and Financial Regulation; and DAFS’ Maine Revenue Services when completing their rulemaking work. The office also coordinated closely with the Office of the Attorney General, Department of the Secretary of State and the Legislature’s Office of Policy and Legal Analysis.
"The Office of Marijuana Policy has set several ambitious timelines since being established in February, and we are proud to have been able to meet all of them," said OMP Director Erik Gundersen. "Our mission at OMP is to effectively license and regulate marijuana establishments and distributors. We have drafted these rules with a view toward keeping the public’s health and safety at the forefront."
LD 719 makes several changes to the MLA including an amendment to the Maine Food Law to no longer consider edibles produced with recreational marijuana as adulterated, allowing the entry of certain vendors into the limited access areas of licensees, and authorizing the department to impose an administrative hold on a licensee. In addition, it authorizes DAFS and OMP, subject to the incorporation of specified amendments, to complete final adoption of their adult use rulemaking.
The law takes effect 90 days after the adjournment of the Legislature. Following the effective date, OMP has 60 days before it must finally adopt their adult use rules. OMP must begin accepting adult use business applications within 30 days of final adoption.
Parallel to the office’s rulemaking activity, OMP will spend the next several months completing work on a marijuana track and trace system, adult use licensing system, and a public health and safety education campaign. The Office expects to being accepting applications for licenses by the end of 2019.
The Mills Administration created the Office of Marijuana Policy within the Department of Administrative and Financial Services in February 2019. OMP is responsible for the oversight of all aspects of legalized marijuana, including Maine's existing Medical Use of Marijuana Program.