Maine was one of four states to vote to legalize cannabis for adult use during the 2016 election, with the others being California, Massachusetts, and Nevada. Out of the cannabis legalization class of 2016, Maine is the only one that has yet to launch regulated adult-use cannabis sales.
In fact, Maine is so far behind schedule that a state that legalized cannabis two years later than Maine launched regulated adult-use cannabis sales before Maine. Michigan, which voted to legalize cannabis in 2018, launched legal adult-use sales earlier this month.
Illinois is set to launch adult-use cannabis sales early next year, despite having legalized cannabis for adult-use well after Maine did. The cannabis industry in Maine will pass a big milestone this week when the state of Maine begins accepting cannabis business applications for its adult-use industry. Per Press Herald:
The Maine Office of Marijuana Policy will publish applications for state provisional licenses to grow adult-use cannabis, sell it and manufacture products made from it to its website Thursday, kicking off a monthslong state review of those vying to become pioneers in Maine’s recreational market.
There’s a lot on the line. Maine’s recreational cannabis market is likely to top $158 million in sales its first year and almost $252 million in its second, according to industry analysts. Pioneers will profit from the wave of Maine’s first sales, establish their hold on the market and grow market and consumer loyalty.
Maine still has a ways to go before the first legal adult-use cannabis purchase is made, however, the launch of the application process is still a big deal. After all, businesses can’t start selling adult-use cannabis in Maine until they have a license. Maine also requires local licenses, and some communities in Maine have pre-banned adult-use cannabis commerce.
Slowly but surely Maine is moving in the right direction. It has been a very frustrating process, however, there is finally light at the end of the tunnel.