Maine cannabis business owners, labor union partner to lobby state lawmakers

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A lobby representing cannabis business owners in Maine is working with a national labor union to represent marijuana interests at the state capitol, organizers told MJBizDaily.

The Maine Cannabis Union – comprised of former members of the Maine Cannabis Coalition, an industry association formed in 2020 – is designed to leverage resources provided by the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM).

The IAM is known in Maine for organizing lobster fishers as well as shipyard employees at Bath Iron Works, a major U.S. Navy contractor that’s also the state’s fourth-largest employer.

But pressuring state lawmakers for friendly rules – rather than labor organizing – is the first order of business for the new organization, said Maine Cannabis Union President Susan Meehan, a longtime Maine marijuana activist and former MMJ business owner.

“Our primary goal is to advocate for safe and affordable access for patients and for consumers in both the adult-use and medical programs,” she told MJBizDaily in a phone interview.

Partnering with the IAM means the roughly two dozen existing members of the Maine Cannabis Union will be able to leverage IAM resources, including the group’s lobbyist in Augusta, she said.

Specific points the union plans to push include lab-testing standards and ownership requirements, said Tiwaan Bradley, eastern territory special representative for the IAM.

“Right now, we’re trying to grow our membership and get awareness that we’re here to help the big owners and the small owners,” Bradley told MJBizDaily.

Maine has 138 licensed cultivation sites and 217 licensed adult-use retailers for a population of 1.3 million, according to state data.

Most of Maine’s cannabis businesses are small and independent operators.

New York City-based Curaleaf Holdings is the only major multistate operator active in Maine, according to MJBizDaily research.

Chris Roberts can be reached at chris.roberts@mjbizdaily.com.