From left, Bud Drivers Josh Vanderbeck and Randy Seguin show off THC MedCo’s medical delivery fleet. Credit: General Manager Elija Mazza / THC MedCo

Certain adult use retail stores will eventually be able to deliver anywhere in the state, regardless of municipal retail bans. They just need the state to officially write those rules. 

“We’ve been pushing delivery for some time,” said Alex McMahan, co-founder and CEO of The Healing Community MedCo in Lewiston, Maine. “This is actually our second go at getting a delivery bill through and of course, this time, the governor did not veto it, which is cool.”

A previous attempt to legalize adult use delivery died in committee in 2020. 

A second attempt to allow delivery passed both the state’s House and Senate in 2022, and was officially enacted on April 26, after Governor Janet Mills declined to veto it. 

Delivery, which is already permitted for the state’s medical market. Under LD 1827, it will also become an option for adult use retailers, but only those that do not also hold licenses for cultivation, manufacturing or distributing cannabis. They must also exclusively obtain their flower from tier 1 cultivators, who are limited to no more than 500 square feet of canopy. 

A cannabis store may deliver regardless of whether the customer’s municipality has approved the operation of cannabis stores.

McMahan’s company operates both an adult use and a medical cannabis storefront. His business already provides delivery for medical patients, and he said he plans to also deliver in the adult use market. 

Prior to starting The Healing Community, McMahan helped run Wee Deliver 207, a short-lived cannabis delivery service that made use of the now-closed loop hole in state law that allowed cannabis gifting. 

“We’re very familiar with the delivery model and kind of figured out all the ins and outs,” he said. “There’s no reason why it shouldn’t be allowed. It is the most convenient for the customer if we just bring it straight to your doorstep.”

Maine has 492 separate municipalities. Of those, only 50 have voted to allow recreational cannabis retailers to do business. This means that a vast majority of the state does not allow local retail for adult-use cannabis customers – an especially significant consideration for the large, rural areas north of the Seacoast.

Initially, the plan for legalizing adult use delivery in the state would be restricted to providing services to residents in towns and cities that had already opted-in to adult use cannabis, according to McMahan, who is a member of the Maine Cannabis Industry Association. 

“We heard that they were going to be putting in a bill that allowed delivery a way to opted-in municipalities, which we weren’t really in favor of just because we kind of saw that as not really adding anything to the program,” said McMahan. “We were of the opinion that there’s no reason why that business couldn’t come and deliver to any consumer. It’s coming into town, one way or another, whether that person leaves their town and makes a purchase, and then comes back to their home or if we just deliver from the store to their home and back. It’s literally about the same thing.” 

The Office of Cannabis Policy will now have to officially write the rules that govern adult use delivery before retailers can start their engines. The office, which is currently between communications directors, did not respond to a request for comment.

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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...