It's possible there will be a green rush in Maine once the sale of legal recreational cannabis launches in the state. According to a report published Monday in MJBiz Daily, the state has now received roughly 170 applications for various types of businesses connected to recreational marijuana -- more than twice as many as had been filed as of mid-December.

Nearly half of the new applications are for dispensaries. Most of the remainder are for cultivation facilities, and the rest (24 in all) are for manufacturing businesses. Nearly 80 of these applications are complete, according to the state. No specific date has been set for the opening of recreational sales; speculation is that it will occur at some point this spring.

Marijuana dispensary sign.

Image source: Getty Images

Legal recreational marijuana has been taking a slow road to its debut in Maine. Voters originally approved it in a ballot measure back in 2016. However, the state only recently began the process for licensing sellers. Medical marijuana is legal in the state.

Applicants for recreational sales licenses must go through a two-step process. If their applications are approved by the state's Office of Marijuana Policy, they will be given conditional approvals. They must then be granted approvals from the municipality or municipalities in which they want to operate.

So far, many Maine towns and cities have been amenable to medical cannabis retailers. currently lists 68 active dispensaries spread among 42 municipalities across the state. 

But big marijuana has only a faint presence there so far. Curaleaf (CURLF -0.85%) has a medical dispensary in Auburn, not far from the border with New Hampshire. There is no indication yet as to whether Curaleaf or any of its publicly traded peers have applied for a recreational license.

Curaleaf's stock closed down marginally on Monday.