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Adult-Use Implementation Bill Passes, but Bills LD 1539 and LD 238 Stall

Two new bills which could have helped with caregiver’s rights and patient rights related to medical marijuana have stalled and been help over until the legislative session in December.

Many medical marijuana companies such as HWC LLC were hoping that the news regarding caregiver’s rights and patients’ rights would be good news, but unfortunately, they have stalled. However, the legislature overrode the governor’s veto of the adult-use marijuana bill, and this will allow for the eventual roll-out of an adult-use cannabis program. The best estimates for the implementation are around spring, 2019. 

Both bill LD 1539 and LD 238 would have had a positive impact on people looking to take advantage of medical marijuana. The new bills would have helped to expand caregiver’s rights by eliminating employee and patient caps, while also allowing for larger cannabis sales and processing services. 

There are several wide-reaching and important changes which the new adult-use bill LD 1719 will bring into effect. The changes aren’t going to happen overnight, however, as the Department of Administrative and Financial Services (DAFS) will need to initiate and complete the rulemaking process. This process allows for written public comments and also verbal testimony at public meetings. 

In summary, the changes to the adult-use program include:

  • Elimination of social clubs, drive through, deliver sales, and internet sales. 

  • Reduces the number of flowering plants from six to three, while also allow local municipalities to oppose a limit of three flowering plants per block of land. 

  • Allows a municipality to ban home cultivation, restrict home cultivation, or charge a licensing fee for home cultivation.

  • Requires municipalities to ‘opt-in’ to adult-use facilitates by voting them in. 

  • Restrict adult-use facilities to no closer than 1,000 feet of a school. 

  • Bring the Medical Marijuana Program under the control of DAFS, and prevents the Bureau of Alcoholic Beverages and Lottery Operations from either administrating or enforcing Medical Marijuana Programs rules. 

  • Remove discrimination protection for employees, tenants, and students who use adult-use marijuana outside. 

  • Leaves medical marijuana discrimination protection for employees, tenants, and students. 

  • Removes the 800,000 square foot statewide cap on adult-use cultivation licenses. 

  • Removes adult-use licensing for dispensaries and caregivers. 

  • Introduces a four-year minimum Maine resident requirement for adult-use cultivation, manufacturing, and retail licenses. This applies to all officers, directors, managers and general partners of any business applicants. The residency requirement will be repealed on June 1st, 2021.

  • Disqualifies any license applicants who have previously had their license revoked in another state for any marijuana dispensaries. 

  • Brings into effect four different licensing tiers: 

  • Tier 1 – 335 Sq. feet of flowering plant canopy 

  • Tier 2 – 2,000 Sq. feet of flowering plant canopy

  • Tier 3 – 7,000 Sq. feet of flowering plant canopy

  • Tier 4 – 20,000 Sq. feet of flowering plant canopy

Any adult-use edibles may not contain more than 10mg of THC per serve and no more than 100mg per package. 

There are also several other changes which the new adult-use bill will bring into effect, but these are the major changes to the current system. 

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