This bill amends the laws regarding the sale and distribution of marijuana for adult use and medical purposes as follows.
1. It transfers the state licensing authority from the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry to the Department of Administrative and Financial Services, Bureau of Alcoholic Beverages and Lottery Operations.
2. It allows for the limited sale of marijuana for adult use while the bureau begins the rule-making process and issuing licenses for retail marijuana establishments pursuant to those rules by allowing dispensaries registered under the Maine Medical Use of Marijuana Act to sell limited marijuana retail products to persons 21 years of age or older in accordance with certain conditions. These early sales provisions are repealed December 31, 2018 unless the bureau has not, as of December 31, 2018, begun issuing licenses for retail marijuana establishments, in which case the dispensaries can continue to sell limited marijuana retail products until the bureau begins, through final agency action, to issue licenses for retail marijuana establishments. It allows registered dispensaries to purchase marijuana and marijuana products from registered primary caregivers for purposes of distribution to persons 21 years of age and older. It imposes a tax of 10% of the sale price of limited marijuana retail products. It allocates 10% of the tax revenue to the municipality where the tax-paying dispensary is located, 45% of the tax revenue to the Department of Health and Human Services to fund regulatory oversight and enforcement of sales of limited marijuana retail products as well as efforts by the department to deter use of marijuana by persons under 21 years of age and the remaining 45% to the bureau to fund administration, regulatory development and enforcement of the Marijuana Legalization Act. It also imposes state sales tax on limited marijuana retail products.
3. It imposes additional financial qualifications on applicants for retail marijuana establishments and retail marijuana social clubs to ensure future regulatory compliance.
4. It imposes annual financial audit responsibilities on all license holders.
5. It removes the requirement that a dispensary under the Maine Medical Use of Marijuana Act be incorporated under the Maine Nonprofit Corporation Act and operated on a not-for-profit basis and exempts such reorganizations from the requirement to obtain court approval or provide notice.
6. It imposes Maine state residency requirements on all applicants. It also allows for the transfer of a retail marijuana establishment or social club license to a person or entity that does not meet the residency requirement and allows for investment in a retail marijuana establishment or social club license by a person or entity that does not meet the residency requirement once the retail marijuana establishment or social club licensee has been operational for 2 years.
7. It allows for an entity or individual with a minority ownership interest in a retail marijuana testing facility to also have an ownership interest in a retail marijuana establishment or retail marijuana social club to encourage investment in retail marijuana testing facilities. It prohibits testing facilities from testing retail marijuana and retail marijuana products from or intended to be sold at a medical dispensary, by a caregiver or at a retail marijuana establishment or social club in which the retail marijuana testing facility licensee has any financial interest.