Support for the adult-use marijuana industry in Maine is strong, especially cultivation, despite a divide over allowing retail shops in some municipalities.

This comes at a time when cannabis has emerged as Maine’s most valuable crop, overtaking more mainstream farm products such as potatoes, hay and blueberries.

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Maine towns and townships can opt into the state program by allowing licenses in four business categories – retail, cultivation, manufacturing and testing – or opt out to become a “dry town.”

Of the 55 municipalities that have passed rules to regulate adult-use marijuana businesses, 29% opted out of retail sales, according to the state’s Office of Marijuana Policy.

No community so far banned adult-use cannabis businesses completely, with retail-shy communities still supporting other types of MJ operators.

Map showing where Maine's communities opted out of retail, cultivation, manufacturing and testing businesses

 

Cultivation has the strongest support, with 95% of Maine’s municipalities approving adult-use marijuana growing businesses – not surprising for a state with a strong, but declining, agriculture industry.

The number of farms in Maine shrank by almost 8% between 2012 and 2017, according to the latest U.S Department of Agriculture survey.

Marijuana agriculture might be the solution.

Marijuana has become the state’s biggest cash crop, according to the Portland Press Herald.

The USDA estimated Maine’s potato crop to be worth $184.1 million in 2019.

Medical marijuana easily eclipsed that figure this year with a reported $221.8 million sold through October.

Add the millions now coming in monthly through the newly opened recreational program, and it is no longer a competition.

Maine’s adult-use market brought in $2.4 million in sales since opening in October 2020.

Manufacturing and testing businesses were also well supported throughout the state.

Maine municipalities that supported adult-use retail generally also supported cultivation, manufacturing and testing businesses in their communities.

Only one locale – Newry, a sparsely populated town located on the New Hampshire border – allowed just retail establishments.

Of those not allowing retail shops, almost 44% also decided against manufacturing.

That number climbed to 50% when they considered testing.

Kennebunk, a costal town just south of Portland, was the only community to prohibit everything but testing.

Maine's Communities Adult-use Opt-in Status

Maine’s Office of Marijuana Policy reports that 55 communities have participated in the state’s opt-in program by adopting rules for specific adult-use marijuana businesses. The list as of December 2020.
MunicipalityRetailGrowingManufacturingTesting
AnsonYYYY
AuburnYYYY
BangorYYYY
BathYYYY
BerwickYYYY
BethelYYYY
Boothbay HarborYYYY
BowdoinhamYYYY
BridgtonYYYY
BrownfieldNYYY
BrunswickYYYY
ByronNYNN
CamdenNYNN
DamariscottaYYYY
DetroitYYYY
EliotYYYY
EtnaNYYY
EustisYYYY
FairfieldYYYY
FarmingtonYYYY
FryeburgNYYY
GardinerYYYY
GeorgetownNYYY
GorhamNYYN
Grand IsleYYYY
HallowellYYYY
JacksonYYYY
KennebunkNNNY
LebanonYYYY
LewistonYYYY
ManchesterYYYY
MercerNNYN
MonroeNYYN
NewryYNNN
NorthportYYYY
ParisYYYY
PolandYYYY
PortlandYYYY
Presque IsleYYYY
ReadfieldNYNN
RichmondYYYY
RocklandYYYY
ScarboroughNYYY
SearsportNYNY
SomervilleYYYY
South PortlandYYYY
Southwest HarborYYYY
StacyvilleYYYY
TopshamNYYY
UnionNYNN
WarrenNYNN
WatervilleYYYY
WiltonYYYY
WindhamYYYY
WoolwichYYYY

 

Andrew Long can be reached at andrew.long@mjbizdaily.com