Regulators in Maine announced on Friday that the ongoing coronavirus pandemic would interfere with the state’s debut of recreational cannabis sales that was planned for this spring. The move continues the delays that have plagued the launch of the adult-use cannabis industry that Maine voters approved in 2016.
The Maine Office of Marijuana Policy announced last month that it expected sales of recreational marijuana to begin in June, three months later than earlier projected. But in a letter sent to stakeholders on Friday, Erik Gundersen, the agency’s director, said the date was no longer feasible because of the COVID-19 outbreak.
“It now appears as though a spring launch of Maine’s adult use industry is simply unrealistic,” he said. “Public health experts have clearly communicated that they cannot answer what social distancing or other guidance may be in effect as we approach late spring and early summer.”
Gundersen added that many local governments have not been able to grant approval to cannabis businesses applying to operate in their jurisdictions, a necessary step in the process of obtaining a license from the state. The town of Kennebunk had scheduled an April 7 referendum for voters to decide if Nelson Analytical, a laboratory