Coronavirus and Cannabis: Maine Regulatory Updates
By Alex Lamphier
Apr 10, 2020
Updated April 10, 2020
This VS Insight is dedicated to updates regarding the coronavirus and cannabis in Maine. For updates on other states or coronavirus-related issues, see our main post on the subject, "Coronavirus and Cannabis: Monitoring the Impact."
Cannabis regulations are in flux across the U.S. as officials at every level of government work to contain the new coronavirus (COVID-19). Vicente Sederberg is closely monitoring the situation, and we are communicating with regulators to understand how these local, state and federal responses may affect cannabis business operators, medical patients, and other cannabis consumers. We are committed to doing everything we can to keep our clients and the public updated as we learn of new developments, but please note this is an extremely fluid situation and there is a lot we do not know. This VS Insights post is for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal or tax advice. We strongly encourage you to contact an attorney if you are seeking advice regarding any specific legal or tax issue.
April 10, 2020
- Office of Marijuana Policy Director Erik Gundersen issued a letter to stakeholders of the adult-use marijuana program informing them of the office’s intentions to postpone the spring debut of adult-use marijuana sales in Maine. A new adult-use launch window will not be publicly identified until guidance from public health experts deems it appropriate.
March 30, 2020
- The Maine Office of Marijuana Policy announced that all in-person field compliance inspections are suspended until further notice, and that such inspections and interviews will be conducted via telephone, email or video conference for the time being.
March 24, 2020
- Maine Office of Marijuana Policy Director Erik Gundersen issued a guidance memo explaining that caregivers and medical marijuana facilities in Maine are considered essential businesses under the “other medical facilities” designation, and therefore are allowed to continue to operate in accordance with the guidelines in Executive Order 19. OMP application review is continuing as usual and the office is prioritizing caregiver assistant and dispensary employee applications in response to staffing capacity concerns in light of dispensary employees self-quarantining or assuming family caretaker roles in the face of the COVID-19 outbreak.
March 20, 2020
- Governor Mills Issued Executive Order 19 closing the public-facing operations of all non-essential businesses to take effect starting on March 25 and continuing through April 7. Essential businesses are allowed to continue operations consistent with the order’s physical distancing guidelines and should encourage remote work where possible, and non-essential businesses are allowed to continue remote operations but may not provide any in-person services or support.
March 18, 2020
- Governor Mills issued Executive Order 14 prohibiting gatherings of more than 10 people throughout the State. Governor Mills strongly recommended that all non-essential public-facing businesses were many people congregate, such as gyms, hair salons, theaters, casinos, shopping malls, to close their doors for two weeks to minimize public gathering and strengthen social distancing measures in an effort to halt the spread of COVID-19. The Executive Order also ordered restaurants and bars to close their dine-in facilities, limiting them to take-out and delivery services only.
March 15, 2020
- Governor Mills declared a State of Civil Emergency to Further Protect Public Health in response to the spread of COVID-19. The declaration authorizes Governor Mills to utilize all available state resources to protect the health and safety of the public and to take every action she reasonably deems necessary to help respond to and protect against the spread of COVID-19. The declaration activates all authority delegated to the governor’s office during an emergency and eases Maines access to critical federal aid to boost response efforts.