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Maine Officials Expect Delay in Opening of Recreational Pot Market

By Eric Volkman - Updated Apr 14, 2020 at 11:26AM

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Sales should begin in June, rather than this month.

According to reports in local media, the Maine state legislature's revenue forecasting committee is estimating that sales of recreational marijuana will begin in June, not this month as previously expected.

A three-month delay will mean less take in tax money for the state. Maine has lowered its forecast for tax monies from recreational marijuana to $500,000 for the current fiscal year (2020), which ends on June 30. Its previous forecast, assuming a March launch, was $2.2 million.

Smoke emanating from a cannabis bud.

Image source: Getty Images

The delay is due to a longer-than-expected waiting period for conditional recreational licenses. These are to be awarded to marijuana companies for dispensaries and facilities used in cannabis cultivation and processing. The relatively sparsely populated state has received almost 200 applications.

One major reason for this is the lack of a testing laboratory in the state. According to a report in the Portland Press Herald, only one such facility is close to securing the necessary licensing to operate.

Once a conditional license is obtained, the applicant is required to secure final approval from local authorities in the municipality where it's operating. Certain locales in the state can take up to a year to grant this approval.

Recreational marijuana is on a slow burn in Maine; its legalization was effected in a ballot measure in 2016. Medical marijuana was first legalized in 1999, and today is a thriving business.

One publicly traded company involved in the sector in Maine is Curaleaf (CURLF 1.37%), which operates a medical cannabis dispensary in the town of Auburn. It is not known at this time whether Curaleaf is one of the applicants for a recreational license, although it seems rather likely.

Curaleaf stock sagged by almost 8% on Tuesday. 

 

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