AUGUSTA – Today, the Office of Cannabis Policy (OCP), a part of the Maine Department of Administrative and Financial Services (DAFS), announced the launch of its online portal for submissions by Maine municipalities to be reimbursed up to $20,000 for costs associated with opting in to Maine’s Adult Use Cannabis Program.
As a result of the 130th Legislature’s second session, Maine cities and towns that have opted in to the state’s adult use cannabis market will be eligible for reimbursement of qualifying expenses, provided by the OCP from the Adult Use Cannabis Public Health and Safety and Municipal Opt-in Fund, which is funded by excise and sales tax revenues generated by the transfer and sale of adult use cannabis.
“Maine’s launch of the Adult Use Cannabis Program has been strong,” said OCP Director Erik Gundersen. “But the benefits are still only being realized by about 7% of Maine’s cities and towns. From a recent report commissioned by the OCP, we know that the presence of adult use retail stores and other facilities is the most responsible way to continue to eradicate the illicit market, while driving down negative public health and safety impacts.”
Qualifying expenses must have occurred in the previous three years, and must be associated directly with a municipality’s process of opting in to the adult use cannabis market. Such expenses may include (but may not be limited to), attorneys’ fees and/or staff time to research, draft and revise cannabis ordinances, fees associated with providing notice of election and public meetings, staff time and other associated expenses, for the conduct of town meetings and elections and the tabulation and publication of results. Reimbursements will be considered on a first come, first served basis.
The form for reimbursement requests, as well as more information on the program, can be found at maine.gov/dafs/ocp/resources/municipal-resources.
“The reality is, no matter if a town has opted in or not,” continued Gundersen, “there is cannabis being bought, sold, and consumed there. The most important thing we can do is to try and ensure that Mainers who choose to use cannabis can do so in a well-regulated environment that safeguards public health and safety in the best way possible. Taking this next, big step to incentivize Maine cities and towns to engage in the regulated adult use market is the most effective way to do just that.”