2020-21 Improvements and Recommendations

As the adult use market enters its second year open to the public, Maine legislators have responded to concerns among the state’s medical cannabis caregivers of being sidelined by the growing retail market: LD 1242 “An Act To Ensure Appropriate Oversight of Maine’s Medical Marijuana Program” was passed as an emergency measure in June 2021. The new law gives the state’s caregivers a say in regulatory decisions made by the Maine Office of Marijuana Policy and requires any future changes to the medical cannabis program be made by the state legislature. This is important for the small operators of Maine who had previously expressed concerns over getting squeezed out by the larger retail industry.

Even as adult use stores finally open their doors to the public, Maine’s medical cannabis patient registry had a year of exceptional growth. With over 30,000 new patients, Maine’s per capita participation rate has increased to over 7% of the population. This is likely due to the high cost of cannabis at adult use stores compared to what are some of the most affordable products in the country at one of the states’ many mom-and-pop run caregiver storefronts.

ASA recommends extending the stricter adult use third-party testing standards to products intended for consumption by patients. Additionally, the state should consider allowing multiple yearlong registrations to avoid burdening patients with unnecessary paperwork.