Maine’s cannabis industry is caught amid an adult-use and medical expansion purgatory, so it seems. Recreational legalization squeezed past Gov. Paul LePage’s veto with a Statehouse override in May. But while limited home cultivation is currently permissible under the new law, the state’s adult-use regulatory framework likely won’t be established until the next governor takes office in 2019.
In addition, Maine’s medical program improvements made their way to fruition after state lawmakers again overrode Gov. LePage’s veto in July. The amendments allow retail storefronts, expansions for current businesses (including increased quantities of medical cannabis a patient can purchase within a 15-day period, as well as the number of employees a facility may hire—which is currently limited to one employee per caregiver), and the elimination of a qualifying conditions list, among other victories.
The flurry of recent changes has caused confusion among caregivers and patients in the current marketplace. Looking ahead, however, the state’s five-year market projection is $222 million, according to a June 2018 forecast by Brightfield Group. Therein lies great opportunity for Maine’s market, whose robust program already serves approximately 42,000 current registered medical patients.
Two state-registered caregivers—Noelle Livas, the co-owner and lead cultivator for Meowy Jane, and Erika Morrotta, co-lead cultivator and director of sales and marketing of Jar Cannabis Co.—realize that potential and intend to capitalize on it. Despite technically being “competitors” in a currently saturated market, with their facilities just a 20-minute drive apart, they don’t see each other as rivals. In fact, they even share their cultivation experiences and methods with one another. “I feel way it’s more of a collaborative process, like having a friend in an industry,” Morrotta says.
In this behind-the-scenes guest interview, Livas and Morrotta share what it’s like running a small facility and being female growers among the male-dominated cultivation