Maine has announced its first round of fully licensed recreational marijuana businesses, including two retail stores – in South Portland and Northport – that can start selling adult-use cannabis to the public next month.
The retailers, Theory Wellness of Maine in South Portland and Sweet Relief Shop in Northport, are cleared to open on Oct. 9, the opening day for adult-use sales in Maine. In addition, the Office of Marijuana Policy approved Nelson Analytics in Kennebunk as Maine’s first testing lab and grows for Room 5 in Detroit, Gele in South Portland and Grass Roots Marijuana in Auburn.
Those are unlikely to be the only businesses licensed by opening day – the state plans to continue licensing adult-use applications on a rolling basis up to and after Oct. 9, including those seeking to manufacture cannabis products, like the infused marijuana edibles popular among modern consumers. No manufacturing licenses were announced Tuesday, but some are likely to be issued in the next month.
All grows and labs licensed Tuesday will be off limits to anyone but state-licensed employees, regulators and vendors. Away from public scrutiny, these license holders will begin to grow and test the marijuana that will stock the shelves of retail stores. But the state warned Tuesday that market launch and product availability may be limited during a pandemic-era market launch.
“Maine will have the unique distinction of being the only state to launch its adult-use marijuana program during a pandemic,” Erik Gundersen, the head of the state’s marijuana policy office, said on Tuesday. “The initial market will likely be limited in both accessibility and product availability, but the industry will evolve responsibly and provide safe, convenient access.”
Theory Wellness of Maine, a business run by two Colby College graduates who are already selling medical and adult-use