A long road: Cannabis goes on sale years after approval in Maine

Retailers blame the pandemic and a limited number of licensed manufacturers for reducing the variety of products available on Friday, the opening day. Licenses were issued only a month ago.

That didn’t dampen Matt Bourgeois’ enthusiasm for hitting two newly opening cannabis shops in South Portland.

“It’s the history that I’m excited about,” said Bourgeois, 40, of Hampton, New Hampshire, who wasn’t worried about limited products. “I’d like to take part in the historic moment. It’s important to me.”

A referendum was approved nearly four years ago, in November 2016, but the effort to set up a method for legally purchasing cannabis dragged on through two vetoes by the governor, two legislative rewrites, and a change in administrations.

Then came the coronavirus pandemic that created further delays as the state determined how to safely open stores.

Under state law, marijuana growers and product suppliers have to be licensed, and the products have to be certified by a state-licensed lab. For now, there are only a handful of manufacturers, and one laboratory. [Read more at ABC News]

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