Published on December 18, 2020.
Maine voters had approved the recreational use, retail sale and taxation of marijuana in November 2016 and as per the Maine Legalization Act, both Recreational and Medical marijuana dispensaries are open for business in Maine. Though 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.
OMP is currently engaged in licensing adult-use marijuana establishments through the process required by the MLA and program rule. The first active adult use establishment licenses were issued on Tuesday, September 8, 2020. Although the opening of cannabis stores was delayed due to COVID-19, sales finally began as of October 9, 2020.
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Maine residents who are at least 21 years of age or older and have a valid government-issued id are allowed to possess up to 2.5 ounces (70 grams) of cannabis or 2.5 ounces of a combination of cannabis and concentrate that includes no more than 5 grams of concentrate.
Medical patients have a 2.5-ounce purchase limit as well.
To participate in the Maine Medical Marijuana program, qualifying patients must obtain authorization from their doctor or nurse practitioner. The authorization certificate and state-issued ID are the only things a patient needs to purchase marijuana from a Maine dispensary. Patients can register and obtain a registry card (Maine Medical Marijuana card)if they choose to.
There is no list of qualifying conditions for medical marijuana applicants. A medical practitioner can recommend marijuana for any medical condition they believe may be alleviated by marijuana.
Consuming cannabis on public or federal land is strictly prohibited and illegal in Maine. Recreational marijuana may only be consumed on private property, out of public view.
Adults 21 years of age or older who do choose to consume marijuana in public and are found guilty of perpetrating this civil violation are subject to a fine up to $100.
Maine’s Department of Administrative and Financial Services is in charge of licensing and regulating all marijuana businesses, including cannabis retail stores. It must consult with the Department of Public Safety regarding any rules concerning public safety or law enforcement matters.
All applicants for cannabis retail store licenses must
Until January 1, 2022, applicants may not have an interest or license for more than four marijuana stores.
The State of Maine follows a three-step process for awarding adult-use marijuana licenses: 1.) Conditional Licensure, 2.) Local Authorization, and 3.) Active Licensure.
Firstly, all applicants must first 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 you having submitted all application forms and required attachments, the Office of Marijuana Policy will determine and vet your application and will either deny the license or issue a non-renewable conditional license valid for one year.
For a conditional license holder to be eligible for an active license, they 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.
There are two fees associated with the adult-use marijuana retail license in Maine. The first is an application fee of $250, which must be submitted before the application can be processed. Once approved for a license, the annual licensure fee for an adult-use marijuana retailer can be no more than $2500, depending on your municipality.
The department may increase these amounts if the department approves a larger canopy count. All fees and fines levied will be placed in the Adult Use Marijuana Regulatory Coordination Fund and used to adopt rules and to license and regulate adult-use marijuana establishments.
Learn how to remain compliant with Maine’s cannabis retail laws.
Cannabis establishments can only operate in municipalities that have enacted an ordinance allowing that type of marijuana business. Marijuana establishments may not operate in towns, plantations, and unincorporated areas unless the town or county commissioners allow that type of marijuana establishment.
Cannabis establishments may not be located within 1,000 feet of a pre-existing school unless the municipality has elected to implement a smaller buffer zone, which must be at least 500 feet.
Licensed adult-use marijuana retailers may sell cannabis to adults aged 21 and older, with a valid government-issued identification card, and employees are required to check purchasers’ IDs before making the sale.
Marijuana stores may sell marijuana, marijuana products, seedlings and immature marijuana plants, marijuana paraphernalia, and non-marijuana products (such as apparel).
Stores may not sell to a person who is visibly intoxicated; sell or give away products with tobacco and alcohol that do not include cannabis; give away adult-use marijuana products or plants; sell or give away mature marijuana plants, or sell an amount of marijuana that exceeds that person’s limit.
Marijuana stores can not operate as a medical marijuana dispensary or primary caregiver at the same location as the adult-use marijuana store.
At the point of sale, a 10% sales tax is imposed.
No, marijuana stores can not use a delivery service, vending machine, drive-through window, or an internet-based sales platform. sell to a person who is visibly intoxicated; sell or give away products with tobacco and alcohol that do not include cannabis; give away adult-use marijuana products or plants; sell or give away mature marijuana plants, or sell an amount of marijuana that exceeds that person’s limit.
Maine adult-use cannabis retailers must pack and label marijuana and marijuana products in a way
Signs, advertising, and marketing:
Maine adult-use cannabis retailers must:
'Good To Know Maine' is an educational campaign developed by the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention to help Mainers safely, legally and responsibly navigate the state's legal marijuana landscape.
Under the Marijuana Legalization Act, Maine requires you to use Metrc to track and monitor adult-use marijuana and marijuana products from the immature marijuana plant to the point of retail sale. Licensees may choose to purchase optional third-party inventory control and tracking systems such as Cova’s Cannabis Dispensary POS Software, which is capable of interlinking with the statewide monitoring system to track:
Maine had initially issued a contract to Bio-Track in 2019 but terminated the agreement in late 2019, and in early 2020, the Office of Marijuana Policy announced the execution of a six-year contract for marijuana track and trace services with Metrc LLC, which integrates perfectly with Cova POS system.
Yes. Cova's Cannabis Dispensary POS Software and inventory management system includes all the features needed to keep cannabis retailers compliant, including:
First, no advertisements for anything cannabis-related can be attractive to minors (no cartoon characters or public figures appealing to a younger age group) or promote underage or out-of-state consumption. Second, no product can claim any therapeutic or curative effects. Lastly, any cannabis advertisement must include the following government warnings:
"This product has intoxicating effects and may be habit forming.";
"Marijuana can impair concentration, coordination, and judgment. Do not operate a vehicle or machinery under the influence of this drug.";
"There may be health risks associated with consumption of this product."; and
"For use only by adults twenty-one and older. Keep out of the reach of children.”
Each licensed retail location can have two signs at their location with their business name or trade name. These signs cannot be larger than 1,600 square feet (measured from the outer frame). No signs can be on the road pointing in the direction of the dispensary, they can only be affixed or hanging from the building or windows of the actual storefront.
The signs can include the business name, location and identify the nature of the business. It cannot have any photos or depictions of cannabis and it cannot be appealing to minors.
A cannabis dispensary can advertise on billboards with some restrictions. First, the billboard can only contain the same information as signage on the storefront (i.e., name of business, address and nature of business). It cannot contain any photos or depictions of the cannabis plant (this includes any logo with a cannabis leaf) or appeal to minors. No matter the design, the billboard must say that cannabis can only be purchased and possessed by adults over 21 years old.
No, dispensaries cannot give away any product or coupons. They can, however, encourage customers to sign up for an email or text list and offer specials that way.
No, a dispensary is only allowed to sell legal cannabis products and paraphernalia. But branded merchandise for a dispensary can be sold on their website or through a separate entity.
Yes, a dispensary is allowed to advertise in print publications, but with a few restrictions. The publication cannot target or distribute to an audience out of state or underage. And the content of the advertisement must follow the same rules as billboards and signage (no cannabis depictions or photos, cartoon characters or anything appealing to minors and must include government warnings). Local jurisdictions are able to establish additional advertising rules, so always check for relevant local laws.
A retail cannabis business can have a website, but it cannot appeal to or solicit anyone under the age of 21. You can sell branded non-cannabis merchandise on your website, but all cannabis products must be purchased in store.
Yes, a dispensary can host or sponsor an event, but only if attendees are over 21 years old. They cannot have product on hand, neither as a free gift or sold.
Rules and regulations regarding advertising for Washington cannabis companies are constantly changing. You can view the WSLCB’s Q&A on advertising here.
Cova POS software provides complete seed-to-sale tracking functionality and has a number of built-in features designed to help you automatically comply with the legal regulations in your state/province. For example, the Cova POS system automatically monitors:
To ensure that you always maintain an expedient transaction pace and keep lines moving, Cova comes with a built-in offline sales processing mode that enables continuous access to critical functions even when your Wi-Fi or internet connection is unavailable. Once connectivity is restored, all transactions performed in offline mode are synchronized with the state’s reporting system, data is backed up, and reports and inventory records are adjusted accordingly.
By choosing a POS system with built-in tax reporting functionality, you’ll always know exactly how much tax you need to pay.
There are several reasons why a cannabis-specific POS is ideal for your operation—but the most important one is compliance management. Because traditional retail operations and pharmacies don’t have the same government-mandated compliance requirements, their POS systems aren’t built to manage the complexities involved with track and trace reporting and the other aspects of state compliance.
With the industry still in its infancy, regulations are bound to change. At Cova, our team keeps up with industry-wide and state-specific changes so that our developers can quickly made necessary software updates—and so you never have to worry about remaining compliant with the latest regulations.
Absolutely! Cova software is built on technology that has the ability to dynamically scale with your needs. Microsoft’s Cloud Computing Platform, Azure, automatically detects instances of heavy traffic (such as sales on 4/20) and assigns further servers and computing power as necessary to compensate—allowing you to process sales without interruption, even during the busiest retail periods.
Although technically you are not mandated to comply with the new law and regulations until July, it’s a good idea to implement a compliant POS now so you don’t have to switch later.
With Cova, you can easily stay compliant with California’s inventory reconciliation requirement by printing the Inventory-on-hand report and checking it against your physical inventory. You can make any necessary adjustments directly into the POS, which will then sync the data across your network.
Cannabis Business Lawyer & Founding Partner, Segev LLP
Ron Segev is the founding partner of Segev LLP. A practical-minded business lawyer with expertise in the cannabis industry, he represents cultivators, dispensaries, CBD extractors, oil extractors, food processors, media and marketing companies, consultancies, and other businesses in the legal cannabis market.