What Took so Long?
Maine’s governor recently approved the rules and regulations for the state’s recreational program, setting the stage for commercial sales. That means if you visit vacationland from March on, you should be able to visit a recreational dispensary. This is the case, even though the rules go live this September. Advocates and cannabis entrepreneurs hailed the move, two and a half years after voters approved a referendum to legalize adult use in Maine.
Gov. Janet Mills said this was upholding the will of Maine voters. Yet, it isn’t a slam dunk. The state’s cities and towns can choose to allow such shops within their borders or not. Thus far, 15 of Maine’s 455 municipalities are allowing rec shops, and more may follow. Portland, the state’s largest city, has already opted in. Once in full swing, Maine’s recreational market could be worth $265 million and create over 5,000 jobs.
What do the Regulations say?
One difference is that Maine has the strictest residency requirements of any state. Originally, someone had to live in-state for four years before they could apply for a license. That person may then own up to 51% stake in a cannabis-related enterprise. Washington State, the next most stringent, requires a six-month residency in order to be eligible for a license.
This is expected to change as Wellness Connection of Maine, the state’s largest medical cannabis operation, has threatened to sue. They’re afraid they’ll be locked out of the recreational market since they’re backed by Acreage Holdings, who are headquartered in New York. As it stands now, the state regulatory agency–the Office of Marijuana Policy–has 60 days to finalize the proposed regulations.
The rules aren’t set in stone. They’ve been approved but will be reconnoitered. For instance, the Mills administration is working on a public health and safety component. It’s also looking into exactly how it will track, test, and tax recreational cannabis.
Within the new plan, recreational cultivators would fall into one of five different tiers. Tier one is the boutique level. This is a grow operation inhabiting up to 500 sq. ft. The second tier is up to 1,000 sq. ft. The third tier is up to 2,000 sq. ft. The fourth max’s out at 7,000 sq. ft. and the last 20,000 sq. ft. A cultivator would have to pay a fee between $60-500, depending on the size of their grow and the type of operation, whether indoor or outdoor. Then there’s the annual licensing fee, which would be anywhere from $9-30,000 depending on the operation’s size. Other businesses, such as processors and dispensary owners, would cough up $250 to apply. They’d also need to pay a $2,500 annual license fee.
Maine cultivators must have an alarm system, security cameras, locking doors and windows, and storage and disposal areas near the point of sale. What’s more, they would need to employ an industrial hygienist or a professional engineer, should they plan on performing hydrocarbon extractions. State officials are also planning on testing regulations covering residual solvents, mold, mildew, salmonella, pesticides, and other chemicals.
As for other rules, customers will be able to purchase no more than 2.5 ounces of flower or five ounces of concentrate at one time. No concentrates or edibles can contain more than 100 mg of THC. Each product should carry the state selected leaf symbol to show that it’s legitimate. Edibles will also be highly scrutinized. Any packaging or products that seem to appeal to children will be banned from dispensary shelves. So edible makers should stay away from packaging with say overly juvenile cartoon characters.
With Maine accepting more licenses, more processors and producer-processors will take root in the Pine Tree State to keep up with demand. As such, Ai Vacuum will be there to offer them high-quality equipment and the best customer support. Who is Ai Vacuum? This is the premier post-processing equipment provider in the industry.
Those who want to perform the perfect purge turn to our award-winning AccuTemp series vacuum ovens. Our 1.9 cu ft. model permeates the industry. This oven has lots of features you’re sure to appreciate. Five-sided heating technology offers excellent temperature uniformity and precise control. It also holds a higher ultimate vacuum, 10 times longer than the industry standard. It achieves this through internal, stainless-steel tubing. What’s more, all of Ai’s AccuTemp ovens come UL/CSA certified, so you know you’re in compliance.
Reclamation and Distillation
Reclaiming solvent is a cinch with our SolventVap series rotary evaporators. The 20-liter model is commonly used throughout the industry. It’s reliable, efficient, and puts out perfect, uniform results with each use. A specially designed motor and worm gear provide quiet, vibration-free rotation at speeds of 100 to 180 RPM. It also has a digital water bath. Its precise temperature control allows it to go from ambient to 99°C (210°F). The bath has a PID controller that’s extremely precise, stepping up the temperature at 0.1°C increments.
If distillation is your thing, check out Ai Vacuum’s short path distillation kits. Ai’s 5-liter model is a good choice for most operations. Each glass piece is made of heavy-wall, high borosilicate glass 3.3. This is one of the most durable types on the market. It resists cold, heat, and corrosion. Another important feature is its large vacuum jacket. This provides extremely efficient fractioning, while an increased head diameter significantly reduces the risk of clogging. Lastly, PTFE thermo inlet adapters and Viton gaskets resist corrosion, so the kit will last a long, long time.
To watch a video about the recreational program in Maine, click here: