Maine Strikes New Medical Cannabis Regulations Following Industry Backlash
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Maine Strikes New Medical Cannabis Regulations Following Industry Backlash

The state’s Office of Marijuana Policy will now work with industry stakeholders to draft a revised set of rules.

March 4, 2022

Weeks of pushback from industry stakeholders have given the Maine Office of Marijuana Policy (OMP) pause in formally issuing a new set of medical cannabis regulations.

Regulators have scrapped their most recent set of proposed rule changes and will now work with industry stakeholders to draft a revised set of rules, according to the Portland Press Herald.

The OMP originally released proposed regulations in preliminary draft form in January 2021 in an attempt to better align Maine’s medical cannabis program with state law, the news outlet reported. The draft rules included a track-and-trace requirement and additional security measures that some industry stakeholders viewed as labor-intensive and cost-prohibitive, according to the Portland Press Herald.

Following the industry backlash, the Maine Legislature passed a law last year to overhaul the state’s medical cannabis rulemaking process and block the implementation of the proposed regulations, the news outlet reported.

The law called for the OMP to establish a 17-member working group and to seek input from medical cannabis businesses, patients and physicians before issuing rule changes, which would then be required to go before the Legislature, according to the Portland Press Herald.

The group first met last fall to begin developing ways to streamline medical cannabis licensing and compliance, the news outlet reported.

The OMP then held a public hearing last month on a new set of proposed rule changes. Maine’s medical cannabis businesses, patients and others told officials that the new proposed rules were too similar to the set of regulatory changes that they opposed last year, the Portland Press Herald reported.

RELATED: Maine Medical Cannabis Task Force Pushes Back on Track-and-Trace Requirement

OMP Director Erik Gundersen sent a letter this week to those involved in Maine’s medical cannabis industry to let them know that after “thorough consideration” of the testimony and comments received during the rulemaking process, officials have decided to scrap the proposed set of rules and go back to the drawing board, the Portland Press Herald reported.

Gundersen said that while many of the OMP’s rules were taken directly from statute, there is some disagreement between Maine’s cannabis law and what the state’s businesses believe should be enacted through the program’s regulatory framework, according to the news outlet.

The same working group will again be tasked with drafting new rules, the Portland Press Herald reported, and the OMP will take the rest of the year to consider a new proposal, which Gundersen said “will result in changes to the program statute and rule that will lead to a stronger medical marijuana program."