Maine announced last week that adult-use cannabis sales will launch Oct. 9, nearly four full years after voters approved legalization in November 2016.
Despite the years-long rollout of the adult-use market, Jim Henry, CEO of Sweet Dirt, a medical cannabis operator that holds multiple conditional licenses in the adult-use program, says Maine’s cannabis industry will be worth the wait.
“They’ve done their diligence and … they’ve been incredibly thoughtful about this,” Jim says. “The length of time that the rollout has taken has certainly been challenging and sometimes, to some individuals, frustrating. But I think the state has done a really nice job and they’ll actually have a really nice program.”
Sweet Dirt was founded in 2015 by a married couple, Hughes and Kristin Pope, who were registered caregivers under Maine’s medical cannabis program. Operations ramped up near the end of 2018, when they opened their first storefront for medical sales.
Then, at the beginning of 2019, the company began preparing for the forthcoming adult-use market by submitting its licensing applications and raising capital to acquire and build out additional cultivation, extraction, manufacturing and retail facilities.
“This sounds like a long time out, but we were under the impression that adult-use would probably be happening right around the first quarter of 2020,” Jim says. “There were some hiccups along the way, and then we experienced a global pandemic, which slowed things down, as well.”
Overall, though, Jim says Maine’s Office of Marijuana Policy has done “a very nice job” with the rollout of the adult-use market.
“Both the state and the municipalities have really studied what happened out west in places like Oregon, California and Colorado, and tried their hardest to make sure that they did not see the same kind of hiccups that some of those places saw,” he