The licensed cannabis cultivation for both medical and adult use in Penobscot County is legal. Medical cannabis in the State of Maine was legalized by the Maine Medical Marijuana Act in 2009 and its subsequent amendments. Adult-use cannabis in the state was first legalized by the Marijuana Legalization Act in 2016 but it was replaced in 2018 by Title 28-B of the Maine Revised Statutes (MRS) on Adult-Use Cannabis. Both medical and adult-use cannabis are regulated and licensed by the Office of Cannabis Policy (OCP).
For medical cannabis businesses, the OCP issues only one type of license through an online application process. The medical cannabis dispensary registration certificate allows the holder to do all or any of the following:
cultivate medical cannabis plants
manufacture medical cannabis products
sell and deliver medical cannabis and medical cannabis products by retail to certified patients and caregivers with a Maine Medical Use of Cannabis Program (MMCP) registry card
Applicants must, however, submit the Dispensary Local Authorization Form where the municipality must indicate whether it approves the establishment of the facility and the types of medical cannabis activities it allows. Also, there must always be 500 feet between any licensed medical cannabis dispensary and an existing school.
MRS Title 22 Chapter 558-C §2423-A allows a medical cannabis cardholding patient to grow a maximum of 12 immature cannabis plants, six mature cannabis plants, and an unlimited number of seedlings. A registered caregiver serving multiple patients may grow a maximum of 60 immature cannabis plants, 30 mature cannabis plants, and an unlimited number of seedlings.
MRS Title 28-B also allows municipalities to opt out of any type of adult-use cannabis business. In Penobscot County, only the City of Bangor out of three cities and only the following six out of 52 towns opted into allowing adult-use cannabis cultivation businesses:
The adult-use cannabis cultivation establishment license can be applied for online from the OCP. The application process involves acquiring a one-year conditional license from the OCP, getting local authorization from the municipality, and submitting the requirements for the active license which also has a one-year validity period.
According to the Adult-Use Cannabis Program Rule which took effect on September 8, 2022, licensed adult-use cannabis cultivation may be done indoors or outdoors. If done indoors, the building must be completely enclosed and secured. If done outdoors, it must be surrounded by a commercial-grade fence and a locked gate, all six feet high. These must be able to prevent unlawful entry and hide the facility from public sight. There must be sufficient lighting with a minimum perimeter of 10 feet surrounding any entry point to the facility.
MRS Title 28-B Chapter 3 allows residents of Penobscot County no younger than 21 to cultivate recreational cannabis for personal use only. They may grow personal-use cannabis on a property they own or on a property owned by another provided the owner agrees to it. They may grow personal-use cannabis in more than one of such places provided they do not exceed 12 immature plants and three mature plants. There is no limit to the number of seedlings they are allowed to possess. No municipality may prohibit or charge a fee for the growing of personal-use cannabis by qualified adults.
Qualified personal-use cannabis growers must ensure that the cannabis cannot be accessed by individuals younger than 21 and cannot be seen by the public. Every cannabis plant must be tagged with the grower’s name, ID number, or driver’s license number and be labeled for personal use. If the cannabis is being grown on another person’s property, the property owner’s name must be indicated, as well.
The licensed cannabis product manufacturing in Penobscot County is legal for both medical and adult use as mandated by the State of Maine’s amended Medical Marijuana Act and MRS Title 28-B.
Only holders of an OCP medical cannabis dispensary registration certificate are allowed to manufacture medical cannabis products, and only if the specific municipality in Penobscot County permits it. Licensees must abide by all the rules governing medical cannabis non-profit dispensaries.
For adult-use cannabis manufacturing businesses, out of three cities in the county, only the City of Bangor opted in. Out of 52 towns, only seven opted in, including the six that opted into cultivation businesses plus Dexter. The OCP adult-use cannabis manufacturing establishment license can also be applied for online following the same process as the adult-use cannabis cultivation establishment license.
When manufacturing edible adult-use cannabis products, the licensed adult-use cannabis manufacturer must ensure that a serving contains a maximum of 10 milligrams of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and a package contains not more than 10 servings.
The licensed retail selling of medical and adult-use cannabis and cannabis products in Penobscot County is legal as stipulated by the amended Medical Marijuana Act and MRS Title 28-B of the State of Maine. However, Subchapter 5 §504 of MRS Title 28-B prohibits licensed medical and adult-use cannabis retail dispensaries from sharing the same location.
Only holders of a medical cannabis dispensary registration certificate from the OCP are allowed to sell medical cannabis and medical cannabis products to certified patients and caregivers who hold MMCP registry cards provided that it is permitted in that particular municipality. Licensed medical cannabis non-profit dispensaries must comply with all regulations that apply to them.
A licensed medical cannabis dispensary may only sell to each certified patient or registered caregiver a maximum of 2.5 ounces of usable medical cannabis every 15 days. The amended Medical Marijuana Act defines usable medical cannabis as the cannabis plant’s dried flowers and leaves. The weight limit does not include added ingredients such as those that comprise edible forms of medical cannabis. A licensed medical cannabis dispensary is also allowed to sell supplies and educational materials related to medical cannabis.
For adult-use cannabis retail businesses, two out of three cities in Penobscot County opted in. These are the City of Bangor and the City of Brewer. Among 52 towns of the county, only the following five opted in:
The application for the OCP adult-use cannabis retail establishment license can likewise be made online with the same process as the adult-use cannabis cultivation and manufacturing establishment licenses.
Licensed adult-use cannabis retail facilities are only allowed to sell adult-use cannabis and adult-use cannabis products to consumers showing a valid photo ID proving their identity and being no younger than 21. They are permitted to sell to these qualified purchasers cannabis flowers, leaves, seeds, stems, seedlings, and immature plants, as well as cannabis concentrates, tinctures, pills, topicals, drinks, edible goods, and other cannabis forms. They can also sell cannabis paraphernalia, non-consumable items related to cannabis, and even food and drink that do not contain cannabis.
Qualified adult consumers of recreational cannabis are allowed to purchase at every transaction any of the following:
Cannabis: 2.5 ounces
Combination of cannabis and cannabis products: 2.5 ounces total, of which cannabis concentrate may constitute a maximum of 5 grams
Seedlings and/or immature plants: 12 in total
Seeds: no limit
The licensed delivery of medical and adult-use cannabis and cannabis products in Penobscot County is legal in accordance with the State of Maine’s amended Medical Marijuana Act and MRS Title 28-B.
Only OCP non-profit medical cannabis dispensary registration certificate holders are allowed to deliver medical cannabis and medical cannabis products to certified patients and registered caregivers.
Only licensed adult-use cannabis retail facilities are allowed to deliver adult-use cannabis and adult-use cannabis products and paraphernalia to consumers who can show a valid photo ID as proof of identity and age of 21 and above. The limit for every delivery per consumer is the same as that for every transaction at the licensed retail facility. Even municipalities that have opted out of allowing adult-use cannabis businesses are mandated to allow the delivery of recreational cannabis and recreational cannabis products to their residents. However, deliveries can only be made to a residence. Also, it must not be located in a district that has been designated by the municipality as a safe zone.
A Medical Cannabis Certification card can be issued to patients in Penobscot County who need medical cannabis treatment by an MMCP-registered health provider who has been licensed by one of the following:
State of Maine Board of Licensure in Medicine
State of Maine Board of Osteopathic Licensure
State of Maine Board of Nursing
According to the amended Medical Marijuana Act, a patient qualifies for certification if diagnosed with one of the following conditions:
Intractable pain from a chronic or debilitating disease not responding to other treatments or surgery for over six months
Alzheimer’s disease agitation
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
A chronic or debilitating disease or treatment that causes any of the following:
severe and persistent muscle spasms
Any other condition approved by the OCP
If the patient qualifies but is below 18, a parent or legal guardian must become the patient’s caregiver. An adult patient may also appoint a caregiver to help purchase medical cannabis. A caregiver must apply online for a registry identification card.
Visitors from other states may use their home state’s medical cannabis card in the State of Maine provided their home state allows such usage.
The following excise taxes are imposed by the State of Maine on adult-use cannabis:
Cannabis flower: $335 for every pound or fraction of a pound of cannabis trim that a licensed adult-use cannabis cultivator sells to other adult-use cannabis licensees
Cannabis trim: $94 for every pound or fraction of a pound of cannabis trim that a licensed adult-use cannabis cultivator sells to other adult-use cannabis licensees
Cannabis seedlings and immature plants: $1.50 for every seedling or immature plant that a licensed adult-use cannabis cultivator sells to other adult-use cannabis licensees or registered caregivers
Mature cannabis plants: $35 for every mature plant that a licensed adult-use cannabis cultivator sells to other adult-use cannabis licensees or registered caregivers
Cannabis seeds: $0.30 for every seed that a licensed adult-use cannabis cultivator sells to other adult-use cannabis licensees or registered caregivers
If a licensed adult-use cannabis cultivator runs multiple licensed adult-use cannabis facilities, the transfer of adult-use cannabis between its owned facilities is subject to the same excise taxes listed above.
There is also a 10% sales tax on adult-use cannabis and adult-use cannabis products.
According to the 2022 Annual Report of the Adult Use Cannabis Program of the State of Maine, the state earned total revenues of more than $28.75 million from adult-use cannabis in the calendar year 2022. The breakdown of that amount is as follows:
Excise Taxes: $9,886,333
Sales Taxes: $17,463,328
Adult-Use Cannabis Business License Fees: $1,143,070
Adult-Use Cannabis Business Application Fees: $73,170
Medical Cannabis Card Fees: $184,946 (This includes not just cards for patients but for business owners, officers, and employees, as well.)
Medical cannabis was first legalized in Penobscot County in 2009, and adult-use cannabis was first legalized in 2016.
Data sent by the Penobscot County Sheriff's Office to the FBI’s Crime Explorer page shows that in 2008, the year prior to medical cannabis legalization, there were 56 marijuana offense arrests, comprised of 50 arrests for possession and six arrests for sales.
In 2010, the year after medical cannabis legalization, there were 68 marijuana offense arrests, comprised of 60 arrests for possession and eight arrests for sales.
In 2017, the year after adult-use cannabis legalization, there were six marijuana offense arrests, comprised of four arrests for possession and two arrests for sales.
The latest available data in 2021 shows two marijuana offense arrests, both for possession.
The number of DUI arrests was as follows in those years:
2008: 90 arrests
2010: 78 arrests
2017: 42 arrests
2021: 47 arrests