Maine Marijuana Cultivation License

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Does Maine Require Marijuana Growers to Obtain Cultivation License?

Yes. In accordance with the Marijuana Legalization Act, marijuana growers in the state must obtain valid cultivation licenses to grow marijuana for commercial purposes legally. Since Maine voters approved the Marijuana Legalization Act in November 2016, the state legislature has made several amendments to the Act. One of the key changes made to the Act was reducing the number of marijuana plants that recreational marijuana consumers may grow at home. Now, Mainers aged 21 or older can cultivate up to three flowering plants, 12 immature plants, and unlimited seedlings for recreational use without obtaining cultivation licenses. The following restrictions apply to adults growing marijuana for recreational use in Maine:

  • Cultivated cannabis may not be visible from a public way without using optical aids
  • Cultivators are required to make reasonable efforts to prevent illegal entry by anybody under the age of 21
  • Cultivated plants must be labeled with the cultivator's name, driver's license, or identification number, and — if the cultivator does not own the land on which the marijuana plants are growing — the property owner's name

Per Section 1502 of Title 28-B of the Maine Revised Statutes, an adult may only grow marijuana for recreational use in Maine:

  • On a tract or parcel of land on which the cultivator is domiciled
  • On a tract or parcel of land owned by the cultivator on which the cultivator is not domiciled
  • On a tract or parcel of land not owned by the cultivator and on which the cultivator is not domiciled, provided the owner of the land by written agreement permits the cultivation of marijuana by the cultivator

Note that Maine law permits municipalities in the state to regulate the home cultivation of marijuana by adults for recreational use within their jurisdictions. Hence, while a Maine municipality may not generally prohibit cultivating marijuana at home or require a license to cultivate marijuana for recreational adult use, the municipality may adopt an ordinance limiting the total number of mature marijuana plants that may be cultivated on a tract or parcel of land.

Limitations on growing marijuana for medical marijuana use in Maine are slightly different from the requirements stated above. Pursuant to Section 2423-A of the Maine Medical Use of Marijuana Act (MUMA), a qualified medical marijuana patient, or the designated caregiver of the qualified patient, may grow up to a total of 6 mature marijuana plants, 12 immature marijuana plants, and unlimited marijuana seedlings. Section 2423-A of the MUMA also permits two or more qualifying medical marijuana patients who are members of the same household cultivating their own marijuana plants to share one cultivation area.

The following are required in the cultivation of marijuana for medical use in Maine:

  • A qualified patient or caregiver growing marijuana plants for medical purposes must keep all plants in the cultivation area except when the plants are being transported
  • Marijuana cultivation in an enclosed outdoor space or enclosed locked facility must be surrounded by a privacy fence, at least six feet high, that obscures the view of the marijuana to deter theft and unlawful entry. When this height restriction conflicts with municipal rules governing fences, the local ordinance's height requirements take precedence. Qualifying medical marijuana patients or caregivers must adhere to any applicable municipal ordinances governing boundary setback limitations
  • Access to a cultivation area must be limited to the patient or the designated caregiver, except when emergency services personnel, an assistant of a marijuana testing facility, or a person who needs to gain access to the area to perform repairs, maintenance, or construction needs to do so. In the case of a caregiver, access to the cultivation area is also permitted to an elected official invited by the caregiver in order for the caregiver to provide marijuana cultivation education to the official. Regardless of who grants access to the cultivation area (either a qualified patient or caregiver), the services rendered during access to the cultivation area must be provided under the direct supervision of the patient or caregiver
  • A medical marijuana card is required before an individual may grow marijuana for medical purposes

Maine also requires adult-use cultivation facilities operating as medical marijuana dispensaries to separate areas where adult-use and medical cannabis are grown, with the plants mandated to be tagged as adult-use or medical as applicable. Note that no marijuana cultivation establishment in Maine may be located within 1,000 feet of a pre-existing school, except where a municipality has implemented a smaller buffer zone, which must be at least 500 feet.

What Are the Different Types of Cultivation Licenses in Maine?

Maine issues its marijuana grower license as a cultivation facility license. Per Section 301 of the Marijuana Legalization Act, the cultivation facility license may be issued as any of the following:

  • Tier 1 cultivation facility license
  • Tier 2 cultivation facility license
  • Tier 3 cultivation facility license
  • Tier 4 cultivation facility license
  • Nursery cultivation facility license

A Tier 1 cultivation facility license comprises two subcategories: plant-count-based Tier 1 cultivation facility license and plant-canopy-based Tier 1 cultivation facility license. The plant-count-based Tier 1 cultivation facility license permits the licensee to cultivate a specified number (up to 30) of mature marijuana plants and an unlimited number of immature marijuana plants and seedlings. The plant-canopy-based Tier 1 cultivation facility license allows the cultivation of not more than 500 square feet of plant canopy area of mature marijuana plants.

A Tier 2 cultivation facility license authorizes the licensee to cultivate up to 2,000 square feet of plant canopy of mature plants. A Tier 3 cultivation facility licensee can cultivate up to 7,000 square feet of plant canopy of mature plants, while a Tier 4 cultivation facility licensee is permitted to cultivate no more than 20,000 square feet of plant canopy of mature plants, unless allowed to do so by the DAFS (Department of Administrative and Financial Services) under 28-B MRS §304. A nursery cultivation facility license authorizes the licensee to cultivate up to a 1,000-square foot plant canopy area, subject to the provisions and limitations of 28-B MRS §501(3).

Maine does not have a dedicated cultivation license for its medical marijuana program. Rather, the state expects licensed medical marijuana dispensaries to grow their own supply of marijuana plants. Therefore, the dispensary registration certificate issued to medical dispensaries in Maine is technically also a cultivation license.

Who Can Grow Marijuana in Maine?

Only residents aged 21 or older may grow marijuana in Maine. Any person with a conviction of a drug offense carrying a maximum penalty of one year or more is ineligible to grow marijuana in Maine. However, such a person may be permitted to grow marijuana if the individual has completed the full mandated sentence at least 10 years before applying for a grower license or if the offense committed was for a marijuana-related conduct that is no longer a crime under current laws.

How to Get a Marijuana Cultivation License in Maine

To be eligible to apply for a marijuana cultivation license in Maine, the applicant must:

  • Be a resident of the State of Maine if applying as an individual
  • Be incorporated in the State of Maine if applying as a business entity and have all directors, general partners, managers, and officers as Maine residents. The business entity must also have the majority of its shares owned by Maine residents
  • Be aged 21 years or older
  • Not be in the employ of a state agency with a regulatory responsibility or serve as corrections or law enforcement officer
  • Not owe outstanding court-ordered payments
  • Not have committed a disqualifying drug offense, including federal or state criminal convictions or have pending prosecutions for offenses punishable by one or more years in jail, including the cultivation, possession, distribution, production, or use of a controlled substance. A conviction based on any conduct now authorized under Chapter 3 of Title 28-B of the Maine Revised Statutes will not disqualify an individual from applying for a marijuana cultivation facility license
  • Not have had a prior medical marijuana ID card or marijuana business license revoked

A license application process consisting of three steps was established by the Office of Marijuana Policy (OMP) under the Department of Administrative and Financial Services. The application process begins with Conditional Licensure, followed by Local Authorization, and finally, Active Licensure. With this three-stage procedure, the OMP may properly evaluate a marijuana cultivation facility before it is approved by the municipality where the establishment will be located. Obtaining an active license for a marijuana cultivation facility is only possible after municipal permission has been granted, which is typically a significant hurdle considering that municipalities have the authority to approve or prohibit any or all forms of marijuana establishments, including marijuana cultivation facilities, within their jurisdictions. Before a prospective licensee can be approved, the applicant must fulfill several requirements included within each of the three application stages.

Step One: Conditional Licensure

Firstly, under the conditional licensure stage, the applicant must consent to a criminal history record check. To initiate the process, the applicant must schedule an appointment with IdentoGO - an approved third-party fingerprinting service provider in partnership with the State of Maine. If the applicant applies as a business entity, every director, manager, officer, and general partner must undergo this background check. The applicant and principals of the business entity may have their fingerprints taken at any of the identoGo locations in Winslow, Springvale, Presque Isle, South Portland, Machias, Farmington, Brewer, Belfast, Augusta, and Auburn.

Secondly, the applicant and any employee of the marijuana establishment must complete the release of information form and obtain Individual Identification Cards (IIC) by completing the IIC application online on the Maine marijuana licensing portal. If the applicant applies as a business entity, every director, manager, officer, and general partner must obtain Individual Identification Cards.

Thirdly, the applicant must complete and submit the application for a conditional license along with the applicable fees. Note that forms completed online are likely to be processed quicker. Application instructions are available on the OMP website. The following will be required for a conditional license:

  • Ownership agreements
  • Financial instruments
  • Cultivation plan
  • Operating plan
  • Principal attestations
  • Business ownership documentation, such as bylaws, LLC agreements, stock ledgers, and partnership agreements
  • Maine revenue services –Tax disclosure for principals

Within the 90 days of submitting the application for conditional licensure, the OMP, upon determining that the forms, relevant attachments, and criminal history checks are complete, will either deny the application or award a non-renewable conditional license valid for a period of one year.

Step Two: Local Authorization

Upon receiving a conditional license for marijuana cultivation, the licensee must seek local authorization from the local government. Maine municipalities have 90 days to respond to requests for local authorizations. However, in certain circumstances, a municipality may require an additional 90 days to issue an authorization to a conditional licensee.

After submitting a request for local authorization, the municipality will determine if a prospective licensee has satisfied all local regulations and determine whether to grant authorization. Upon approval, the Maine Land Use Planning Commission or the municipality, depending on which has jurisdiction over the proposed site for the marijuana establishment, will send a signed and notarized local certification form to the Office of Marijuana Policy.

No later than 10 days after the Office of Marijuana Policy receives the approved local authorization form, the Office will contact the applicant to provide updated documents and supplemental information on the application.

Step Three: Active Licensure

The Office of Marijuana Policy will require the following information from an applicant for a marijuana cultivation facility license at the active licensure stage:

  • Any changes to the initial application
  • Proof of compliance with all relevant electrical inspections and permit requirements
  • The relevant tax documents and information, such as proof of registration with the state tax assessor, excise tax identification number, and sales tax identification number
  • A facility plan
  • A security plan
  • An updated operating plan. The OMP provides application instructions and operating plan templates for nursery cultivation and cultivation facility license applicants on its website
  • An updated cultivation plan. The OMP provides a cultivation plan template for applicants on its website
  • Evidence of registration with the state's marijuana tracking system

Once all requirements have been fulfilled, the OMP will invoice the applicant for the applicable marijuana cultivation licensing fee. The license fee may only be paid with a money order or bank check. Cash payments and personal checks are not accepted.

Upon receiving the payment for the licensing fee, the OMP will issue the applicant an active license. The license is valid for one year.

How Much Do Marijuana Cultivation Licenses Cost in Maine?

Per the Maine Adult Use Marijuana Program Rule, the following are the license fees and application fees for the various categories of marijuana cultivation facility licenses in the state:

License Type Annual License Fee (Outdoor Only) Annual License Fee (Indoor/both) Application Fee
Tier 1 Cultivation Facility (Plant-Count-Based) $9 per mature plant $17 per mature plant $100
Tier 1 Cultivation Facility (Plant-Canopy-Based) $250 $500 $100
Tier 2 Cultivation Facility $1,500 $3,000 $500
Tier 3 Cultivation Facility $5,000 $10,000 $500
Tier 4 Cultivation Facility (for each increase in canopy size) $15,000 (+$5,000) $30,000 (+$10,000) $500
Nursery Cultivation Facility $350 $350 $60

Note that renewal application and licensing fees are due annually in the amounts stated above. The DAFS may also require the payment of a $2,500 fee in addition to the application fee for a renewal application received less than 30 days before the expiration date of the current marijuana cultivation facility license.

Can Licensed Marijuana Cultivators Hold Other Cannabis Licenses in Maine?

According to Maine marijuana licensing Rules and Statutes, a marijuana cultivation facility licensee can hold other marijuana business licenses such as the marijuana manufacturing license and the marijuana store license. However, the marijuana cultivation facility licensee must apply separately for each additional license to obtain them. Note that a marijuana cultivation facility licensee cannot obtain a marijuana testing facility license.

Also, a marijuana cultivation facility licensee is not permitted to have a direct or indirect financial interest in more than three marijuana licenses or have a financial interest in marijuana cultivation facilities with a combined cultivation canopy area of more than 30,000 square feet.

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Maine Marijuana Cultivation License