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Posted on: June 17, 2020

City’s Marijuana Businesses Ordinance Goes Into Effect

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The City of Portland’s marijuana ordinance that establishes the types of marijuana businesses that can be licensed to operate in the city went into effect on Wednesday, June 17, 2020. The ordinance also establishes the rules of these businesses, the fee schedule, a 20-license cap on retail marijuana stores, a 250’ buffer between retail stores, and the method of allocating retail licenses. 

The applications will be available on the City’s Business License page. Completed applications can be emailed to Marijuana@portlandmaine.gov. Staff will email an invoice following review of the completed application. The City Manager has set July 1, 2020 as the opening date for Retail Store applications. The end date will be August 31, 2020.

The 2016 Marijuana Legalization Act gave municipalities the authority to regulate the operation of marijuana businesses. In preparation for retail adult use sales, a City staff working group researched and prepared marijuana business licensing recommendations. The Health and Human Services & Public Safety Committee and the Economic Development Committee met five times starting on August 8, 2019, and used the staff recommendations and public and industry feedback to create regulations that will govern marijuana businesses in the city including the licensing scheme businesses will use to enter this new market. At the February 25, 2020 meeting, the committees finalized a recommendation to the full council that includes capping the number of retail marijuana stores in the city at 20 in order to avoid market disruption, requiring a 250’ buffer between stores to prevent clustering, and also includes a scoring system to determine the order that completed and satisfactory applications are approved up until the cap is met.