Maine Issues First Recreational Cannabis Licenses



Maine has officially issued its first adult-use cannabis licenses, launching retail sales to the public on October 9th, 2020.

The first two dispensaries to receive licenses are Theory Wellness of Maine in South Portland, and Sweet Relief Shop in Northport. 

This announcement comes nearly four years after voters approved legalization in 2016. It also makes Maine the only state to launch its adult-use program during the pandemic, a move many states have been pushing for to account for the economic downfall caused by the spread of COVID-19. 

“Maine will have the unique distinction of being the only state to launch its adult-use marijuana program during a pandemic,” the Office of Marijuana Policy’s (OMP) Director, Erik Gundersen, said in a press release. “Public health and safety are themes that have been part of the [OMP’s] mission statement since day one. Accordingly, our highest priority remains the wellbeing of this new industry’s employees and consumers.”


Under Maine’s adult-use laws, medical and recreational dispensaries will remain entirely separate entities. 

Recreational consumers aged 21 or older will only be able to purchase from recreationally licensed establishments, as Maine law prohibits the sale of medical and non-medical cannabis in the same storefront. 

Thus, some business owners, like Joe Pelkey of Star City Wellness, fear that the outbreak will diminish his chances of transitioning into recreational sales. 

“If this COVID starts kicking up again, and they shut the recreational down, I’ll be done,” Pelkey explained to Bangor Daily News. “If I stay medical, they won’t shut the medical down because they are deemed essential.”

Further, daily purchases will be limited to no more than 2 ½ ounces of flower, or 5 ounces of concentrate. Edibles cannot exceed 100 total milligrams of THC, with 10mg servings caps. 

Where to Shop

Currently, Theory Wellness and Sweet Relief Shop are the only dispensaries likely to be open by October 9th, the official launch date. 

However, the Office of Marijuana Policy also approved Nelson Analytics in Kennebunk to be the state’s first testing lab, and Room 5, Gele, and Grass Roots for cultivation.

Stay tuned for more updates as regulators continue to issue more licenses on a rolling basis.  


Written by Rita Thompson


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Emerald contributor since June 2019


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