Maine state officials said they are poised to begin accepting adult-use marijuana license applications before the end of the year and expect customers will have the ability to purchase products in retail stores by March.
There are no statewide license caps, but municipalities can limit or ban recreational marijuana in their jurisdictions – and most have.
Voters approved legal adult-use marijuana in the state in November 2016.
However, the road to legal sales has been long and bumpy.
But state officials say they are on track to meet the previously announced spring 2020 target.
A key act passed by the state Legislature is now in effect.
That means the Maine Office of Marijuana Policy is in a position to complete final adoption of cannabis industry rules within the next couple of months, said David Heidrich, an agency spokesman.
The state then likely can accept applications for retail marijuana sales by the end of 2019, Heidrich said.
Maine will need time to process the applications, and retailers also will need local approvals, but the state is projecting revenue from marijuana sales by March 15, Heidrich said.
How swiftly the applications are approved might depend on how complete they are, he added.
Maine’s rollout of legal marijuana has been beset with hiccups, such as a squabble over the hiring of a key consultant, and was also slowed by former Gov. Paul LePage’s opposition to legalization.
David Boyer, an independent marijuana industry consultant in Maine, said that it’s “disappointing that adults still don’t have a place to purchase legal cannabis in Maine,” but that the finish line is in sight.