Mainers should be able to buy legal recreational marijuana by the end of the year.
The state Office of Marijuana Policy delayed its planned June launch of the adult-use market because of the COVID-19 pandemic but now expects to allow the first wave of recreational marijuana testing labs, grow facilities and manufacturing labs to open by the end of the first quarter, which ends in September, director Erik Gundersen said Wednesday.
Licensing supply-chain businesses will give the state’s recreational cannabis industry time to grow, test and manufacture the products that will stock the shelves of Maine’s first stores, he said. He told state budget analysts grappling with the fiscal impact of COVID-19 to expect the first adult-use sales taxes sometime in the second quarter, which ends in December.
Gundersen told the Legislature’s Revenue Forecasting Committee the launch would be more measured, and less robust, than planned.
“Our intentions are to start the system,” he said. “But it’s going to be a slower start than we originally intended, pre-COVID.”
The late start means the market will fall short of the $84 million in fiscal year 2021 retail sales that Maine were expecting in the spring, said tax economist David Gunter of the Maine Department of Administration and Financial Services. [Read more at Portland Press Herald]