A barn in Harpswell, Maine after a winter storm in 2017. No, this picture is not relevant to the story, other than being in Maine. But pictures of rules didn’t seem compelling. Credit: Paul VanDerWerf / Flickr

Maine’s Office of Marijuana Policy (OMP) released its proposed new set of rules for the state’s medical cannabis program on Jan. 17. The new rules include new requirements for plant tracking and security, but not mandatory lab testing. 

The new rules would replace the statutes that have governed medical cannabis in the state since May 10, 2018. The state previously attempted to update its medical cannabis regulations in early 2021, with new rules about plant tracking and security systems, but the effort was blocked by the legislature, leading to a second effort from the OMP to produce new medical guidelines that did not attract the same level of caregiver opposition as the previous proposal. 

The proposed rules still include new security and plant tracking requirements, but lower registration fees for operators. 

Among the new rules:

  • Medical cannabis operators must track all plants from cultivation to manufacturing to sale, and then submit to the state. Unlike the state’s adult-use operators, who must use METRC to track, medical operators may submit their data by hand or electronically. (Section 7.2 – p.43)
  • Caregiver cultivators must pay $240 for every six mature plants and 12 immature, up to a total of 30 mature plants and 60 immature ones for a total fee of $1,200. (Section 12.5 – p.59)
  • Dispensaries will pay a $5,000 registration and then annual renewal fee. Previously, it was $12,000. (Section 12.5 – p.59)
  • All cannabis facilities, including cultivation, manufacturing, retail and lab testing, must have well-lit entrances, commercial-grade locks on doors and windows, and a monitored alarm system. All facilities must also install video surveillance monitoring all entrances, all cannabis plants and products, all cannabis waste and the entire facility perimeter. Medical cultivation sites were previously required to include a 6-foot fence with locked entryways. (Section 6.1.3 – p. 27)
  • Caregivers are still not required to submit their cannabis for lab testing, but they must now indicate whether or not they plan to use lab testing. (Section 5.3.2 – p.15)
  • Employees and owners of medical cannabis operators must be able to prove residency for at least 183 days (Section 5.2 – p.14). 

The state will hold a public comment hearing, via Zoom, in response to the proposed rules on Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2022 at 10:00 ET.

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Zack cut his journalistic teeth covering high school sports in the south before spending a decade covering local government, politics and the courts in the Boston, Massachusetts area. He's previously written...