Portland, Maine, Receives 38 Applications for 20 Available Cannabis Dispensary Licenses
SeanPavonePhoto | Adobe Stock

Portland, Maine, Receives 38 Applications for 20 Available Cannabis Dispensary Licenses

It is unclear how the city will decide who gets the licenses, as a recent court ruling declared its scoring matrix unconstitutional.

September 1, 2020

Editor's Note: This story was updated at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 2 to update the number of license applicants.

Portland, Maine has received 38 applications for 20 available cannabis dispensary licenses, and after a recent court ruling declared the city’s scoring matrix unconstitutional, it is unclear how officials will decide who ultimately gets the licenses, according to a Portland Press Herald report.

Applicants had an Aug. 31 deadline to submit applications to operate medical and adult-use dispensaries within the city; four applicants are seeking medical cannabis retail licenses, the Portland Press Herald reported, while the rest would operate in the adult-use market, which is expected to launch Oct. 9.

Portland City Council spent a year developing its cannabis zoning and licensing regulations, which included a scoring matrix to determine who would get a retail license if the city received more than 20 applications, according to the news outlet.

Although the city approved its local cannabis ordinance in May, its residency bonus for license applicants who lived in Maine for at least four years was challenged in court by Wellness Connection of Maine, a non-local cannabis operator, and a federal judge ruled last month that Portland cannot prioritize local businesses in its licensing process.

The city is still trying to decide how to respond to the court ruling, the Portland Press Herald reported, but in the meantime, residents will vote on a cannabis referendum in November that could eliminate the licensing cap on dispensaries, which would also eliminate the need to narrow down the applications.

Portland still plans to license cannabis cultivation and extraction facilities, according to the news outlet, as it determines its next move in the retail licensing process.