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Maine Cannabis Regulators Complete Final Adoption of Adult Use Rules

Action by state’s Office of Marijuana Policy establishes timeline for accepting adult use applications and begins staggered rollout of regulated adult use industry.

AUGUSTA – The Office of Marijuana Policy, a part of the Maine Department of Administrative and Financial Services, today announced it has completed final adoption of major substantive rules related to Maine’s adult use marijuana program. The administrative rules establish the regulatory framework governing the licensing, compliance, enforcement and oversight of the forthcoming adult use marijuana industry in Maine and marks OMP’s most significant accomplishment to date.

In accordance with state law, the new regulations become effective 30 days following final adoption, which is Thursday, December 5, 2019. With final adoption complete, OMP will now shift its attention to the application and licensing processes required of prospective adult use licensees.

“Over the last eight months, the Office of Marijuana Policy has worked with legislators, community leaders, public health and safety experts, industry stakeholders, and members of the public to develop and institute regulations that we hope will serve as a model of how to properly regulate marijuana for the rest of the country,” said OMP Director Erik Gundersen. "The goal of OMP has been to put forth the best rules and regulations possible, and our work benefitted significantly from the valuable input provided by stakeholders through this process."

Beginning immediately, prospective licensees may register to complete fingerprinting for their state and federal background checks and complete an individual identification card application. Fingerprinting is available through IdentoGO (https://me.ibtfingerprint.com/), a nationwide provider of identity-related services with locations available throughout Maine. Applications for individual identification cards are available on the OMP website (https://www.maine.gov/dafs/omp/adult-use/applications-forms/).

All individuals working in or for a licensed marijuana establishment who possess, cultivate, manufacture, package, test, dispense, transfer, serve, handle, transport or deliver marijuana or marijuana products are required to have an OMP-issued individual identification card. Information contained in the background checks will inform the Office’s decisions about whether a prospective licensee or their employees satisfy the character and fitness requirements written into law and rule.

“While our adult use rules do not go into effect until December, beginning the background check process and accepting individual identification card applications are concrete steps prospective licensees can take today to prepare to enter this emerging industry,” added Gundersen. “Making certain applications and forms available in advance will allow our office to better respond to questions raised by applicants of this new program. In the coming weeks, OMP will continue its staggered rollout of adult use applications and forms.”

On Monday, November 18, 2019, OMP will make license applications for marijuana testing facilities available on its website. The remaining applications for adult use marijuana cultivation, products manufacturing, and retail facilities will be made available on December 5, 2019. No individual identification cards or conditional facility licenses will be issued by OMP until at least the effective date of the adult use marijuana program rule.

Occurring a month and a half after the effective date of LD 719, the legislation that made several changes to the Marijuana Legalization Act, final adoption completes the major substantive portion of OMP’s adult use rulemaking activity. Rulemaking on marijuana testing facility licensing is forthcoming.

“We established several lofty goals at the outset of our work, including delivery of adult use rules before the legislature adjourned in June and making adult use applications available by the conclusion of 2019,” concluded Gundersen. “I am proud of the incredible work of our office to fulfill these commitments to an industry and public that have been waiting patiently for this work to be completed.”

OMP was established by the Mills Administration in February 2019 to oversee Maine’s existing medical marijuana program and implement the voter-approved Marijuana Legalization Act. Its first rulemaking began in late March and has continued since then in both the adult use and medical use of marijuana programs.