Maine has set an April 30 deadline for a new consultant to come up with the rules needed to begin recreational marijuana sales.
The state Department of Administrative and Financial Services issued a request for proposals Monday for a consultant to write the rules and regulations needed to license and regulate adult-use cannabis businesses and implement the new medical marijuana law that will add new dispensaries and allow caregivers to open retail stores.
Last year, when Maine requested information on how to launch its recreational market, two nationally known cannabis consultants responded: Freedman & Koski of Denver, whose principals are former Colorado regulators that launched the country’s first recreational market, and BOTEC Analysis of Los Angeles, which advised Washington state on its adult-use launch in 2013.
Proposals must be submitted by a Nov. 1 deadline. The applicants will be scored by a selection team based on qualifications and experience, proposed services, cost and impact on the Maine economy. The agency has not set a selection deadline, but whoever is picked must finish writing the rules no later than April 30.
Some of the rules will require lawmakers’ approval, including the development of a seed-to-sale tracking system, a licensing standards and fee schedule, a criminal background check system for applicants and their employees, labeling, packaging and advertising standards, and a list of penalties and fines for unauthorized conduct.
The consultant will also establish a marijuana testing program, which, as a technical matter, will not require legislative approval.
The state’s request for proposals says the consultant may be asked to write new medical marijuana rules, but didn’t provide any details.
In July, lawmakers approved a sweeping medical marijuana reform bill that allows doctors to certify a patient for medical use of marijuana if they deem it medically beneficial. It also lets the state award six new medical dispensary licenses, bringing Maine’s total up to 14, and allows caregivers to expand their operations into retail stores.
The Department of Administrative and Financial Services did not respond to a request for more information, such as a timeline for when it expects to start issuing adult-use licenses. When the adult-use regulatory law was adopted in May, via an override of Gov. Paul LePage’s veto, lawmakers said they hoped licenses would be issued in the spring of 2019, but that now appears unlikely.
Penelope Overton can be contacted at 791-6463 or at: