On November 4, Maine’s Office of Marijuana Policy (“OMP”) finalized its Adult-Use Marijuana Program regulations and announced that it would begin accepting applications for adult-use licenses on December 5. The regulations establish six types of cultivation licenses ranging from 500 to 20,000 square feet of canopy; a product-manufacturing license, and a marijuana store (i.e., retail) license.

The OMP has not capped the number of licenses it will issue for cultivators, manufacturers, and retailers, and has not created a competitive RFP process for selecting licensees. However, the regulations place a strict residency requirement on license applicants. If the applicant is a natural person, he or she must be a Maine resident. If the applicant is a business, every officer, director, manager, and general partner must be a Maine resident, and a majority of the equity ownership must be held by Maine residents.

Applications for licensure will proceed in three phases.

First, applicants must apply for conditional licensure. The conditional license application will require information about the applicant, the applicants financial interest holders, other marijuana licenses held by the applicant (inside or outside of Maine), proof of residency, submission to criminal history checks, and more. Additional information about applicants’ operations plans is required for each license type. The conditional license is valid for one year and is not renewable.

Second, if the OMP approves an application for a conditional license, the licensee must secure a “local authorization certification” from a host community.

Third, the licensee must submit supplemental information to be approved for a final active license. The required supplemental information includes evidence of compliance with permitting and inspections; a facility plan; a security plan; material changes from the provisional license application; and more. Active licenses must be renewed annually.

Maine voters approved marijuana legalization at the ballot box in 2016, but the state’s former governor, Paul LePage, prevented the adult-use program from getting off the ground. Maine’s new governor, Janet Mills, authorized the OMP to implement the adult-use program shortly after taking office. For Maine voters and businesses, their long wait for an adult-use marijuana program is almost over.