Maine’s adult-use marijuana launch delayed until further notice

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The start of Maine’s long-awaited recreational marijuana market was officially postponed on Friday because of the coronavirus pandemic.

A new timeline won’t be announced until public health experts deem it appropriate to do so, state regulators said.

The postponement was expected.

The Maine Office of Marijuana Policy characterized the move as postponing the “spring debut” of recreational cannabis sales. The agency indicated in March that the launch could be delayed beyond June.

“Just one month ago, as we announced the issuance of Maine’s first conditional licenses for adult-use marijuana establishments, few would have envisioned the effects … (COVID-19) would have on the daily lives of Mainers,” OMP Director Erik Gundersen wrote in the most recent letter to industry officials.

“However, it now appears as though a spring launch of Maine’s adult-use industry is simply unrealistic.”

The updated Marijuana Business Factbook estimates that the number of in-state customers will range from 190,000 to 230,000. Market sales projections weren’t made.

The office first noted the possibility of a launch delay in a March 24 memorandum to program participants in conjunction with Gov. Janet Mills’ coronavirus civil emergency declaration.

Gundersen noted that there remains “sheer unknowns” about the situation, such as what kind of social distancing or other guidance might be in effect in late spring or early summer.

Although most OMP employees are working remotely, the office said it is continuing to operate at full capacity – accepting recreational and medical marijuana business applications, issuing MMJ registrations and adult-use conditional licenses as well as developing new rules and regulations.

– Jeff Smith

For more of Marijuana Business Daily’s ongoing coverage of the coronavirus pandemic and its effects on the cannabis industry, click here.