How to open a marijuana dispensary in Maine
Are you wondering how to open a marijuana dispensary in Maine? This page will keep you up to date with the latest news and information relevant to opening a marijuana store in Maine.
Although adult-use marijuana was legalized in 2016, Maine did not establish regulations for commercial sales until 2019, when Gov. Janet Mills signed LD 719 to approve a ruleset.
Maine’s Office of Marijuana Policy (OMP) is in charge of the licensing process of the adult-use marijuana establishments. The first licenses were issued in September, 2020, and sales began in October of the same year.
A marijuana store is an establishment licensed to purchase adult use marijuana, immature marijuana plants and seedlings from a cultivation facility, to purchase adult use marijuana and adult use marijuana products from a products manufacturing facility and to sell adult use marijuana, adult use marijuana products, immature marijuana plants and seedlings to consumers.
You’d need a marijuana store license in order to open a marijuana dispensary in Maine
What are the steps to open a dispensary in Maine?
In order to open a marijuana dispensary in Maine, you’d have to obtain a “marijuana store license” according to the Marijuana Legalization Act. To apply for a license, you’d have to go through three steps:
- Conditional licensure
- Local authorization
- Active licensure
All applicants must submit to a criminal history records check, and each applicant for a license will be required to obtain an OMP-issued Individual Identification Card (IIC). Within 90 days of having submitted all application forms and required attachments, the OMP will either deny the license or issue a non-renewable conditional license valid for one year.
In order to be eligible for an active license, all conditional licensees must seek local authorization at the municipality they are operating in. The municipality will have 90 days to determine the request and then send an approved local authorization form directly to the OMP. Within 10 days of receiving an approved local authorization form, the OMP will request supplemental information and updated documents from the applicant.
Supplemental information required for the issuance of an active license includes evidence of compliance with all electrical and permitting requirements and appropriate tax information and documents. Upon satisfaction that all requirements have been met, OMP will invoice the applicant for the licensing fee. Once payment is received, OMP will issue an active license that is valid for one year.
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General licensing criteria
According to Maine’s Marijuana Legalization Act, in order to open a marijuana dispensary in Maine, your application for a cannabis establishment license has to comply with each of the following requirements:
- Age. The applicant must be at least 21 years of age. If the applicant is a business entity, every officer, director, manager and general partner of the business entity must be at least 21 years of age.
- Residence. If the applicant is a natural person, the applicant must be a Maine resident. If the applicant is a business entity:
- Every officer, director, manager and general partner of the business entity must be a natural person who is a resident; and
- A majority of the shares, membership interests, partnership interests or other equity ownership interests as applicable to the business entity must be held or owned by natural persons who are residents or business entities whose owners are all natural persons who are residents.
- Incorporation in state. If the applicant is a business entity, the business entity must be incorporated in the State of Maine or otherwise formed or organized under the laws of the State of Maine.
- No disqualifying drug offense. The applicant may not have been previously convicted of a disqualifying drug offense.
- Not an employee of a state agency. The applicant may not be employed by the department or any other state agency with regulatory authority.
- Not a law enforcement officer or correction officer. The applicant may not be a law enforcement officer.
- No license revocation. The applicant may not have had a license previously issued under Maine’s legislation revoked.
- No medical registry identification card or registration certificate revocation. The applicant may not have had a registry identification card or registration certificate previously issued pursuant to the Maine Medical Use of Marijuana Act revoked.
- No revocation of other state marijuana license, permit, certificate or other government-issued authorization. The applicant may not have had a license, permit, certificate or other government-issued authorization issued in another jurisdiction allowing the cultivation, manufacture, testing or sale of marijuana or marijuana products revoked.
- No outstanding court-ordered payments. A license may not be issued to an applicant that has any outstanding payments due in the State of Maine on court-ordered fines, court-appointed attorney’s fees or court-ordered restitution.
- Criminal history record check. The applicant must have submitted to a criminal history record check.
- Compliance with application process; no false statement of material fact. The applicant must have completed all application forms required by the department fully and truthfully and complied with all information requests of the department relating to the license application. A license may not be issued to an applicant that has knowingly or recklessly made any false statement of material fact to the department in applying for a license.
Further, the department has to consider, in order to grant a cannabis establishment license, the following additional licensing requirements:
- Other convictions. The applicant shall submit information regarding the applicant’s criminal convictions in this State or in another jurisdiction for any offense involving dishonesty, deception, misappropriation or fraud. The applicant may submit and the department shall consider if submitted any information regarding the applicant’s criminal history record, including, but not limited to, evidence of rehabilitation, character references and educational achievements, with special consideration given to the time between the applicant’s last criminal conviction and the consideration by the department of the application for licensure.
- Tax compliance. The applicant has to submit the following:
- The applicant’s history of paying income and other taxes owed to the State, to another jurisdiction, if applicable, and to the United States Internal Revenue Service over the 2 years immediately preceding the year in which the application is filed; and
- Any outstanding tax liens imposed or levied against the applicant in this State or in another jurisdiction within the 5 years immediately preceding the year in which the application is filed.
- Other state marijuana-related violations or penalties. If the applicant has held a license, permit, certificate or other government-issued authorization in another jurisdiction allowing the cultivation, manufacture, testing or sale of marijuana or marijuana products, the applicant shall submit information regarding any violations by or penalties imposed on the applicant in that other jurisdiction.
Causes for denial of a Maine marijuana license
The department may deny an application for a Maine marijuana establishment license for a “good cause”. Maine’s legislation defines a “good cause” as follows:
- An applicant or licensee has violated, does not meet or has failed to comply with any of the terms, conditions or provisions of the legislation regarding the licensing process.
- An applicant or licensee has failed to comply with any special terms, consent decree or conditions placed upon the previously issued license pursuant to an order of the department; the municipality in which the licensed premises are located; the town or plantation in the unorganized and deorganized areas in which the licensed premises are located; in the case of a township in the unorganized and deorganized areas in which the licensed premises are located, the county commissioners of the county in which the township is located; or, in the case of a marijuana establishment located in the unorganized and deorganized areas, the Maine Land Use Planning Commission.
Upon the department’s determination to deny a license application, the department shall notify the applicant in writing of the denial, the basis for the denial and the applicant’s right to appeal the denial to the Superior Court
Official costs associated with the application for a Maine marijuana license
- Application fee: $250
- Annual licensure fee: No more than $2,500 (depends on your municipality)
Other than these, you’d also have to consider your budget to cover your business operations. The amount of money you’d need to raise will highly depend on the expected scale of your business, if you need more information, you can contact us so we can give you some guidance on the matter.
Also, make sure to check out our Map of Marijuana Legality by State, so you can stay updated on where the industry is standing regarding cannabis legalization.
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