The State of Cannabis Legislation & Licensing: Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts

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The State of Cannabis Legislation & Licensing: Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts

Cannabis Business Licensing in Maine

According to a recent article published in the May-June issue of Marijuana Business Magazine, manufacturers of cannabis products are often in a constant evolution of new products and scientific advancements, all to retain and expand their customer base. As the industry continues to grow, it is essential to keep abreast of legality. Below is a compiled listing of marijuana legislation and cannabis business licensing in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and Massachusetts as of June 2019.

Maine Cannabis Business Licensing

Cannabis is legal for recreational use. The Marijuana Legalization Act permits adults who are not participating in the state’s medical cannabis program to legally grow and possess personal use quantities of cannabis while also licensing commercial cannabis production and retail sales. The law imposes a 10 percent tax on commercial marijuana sales.

Under the law, localities have the authority to regulate, limit or prohibit the operation of marijuana businesses. Onsite consumption is permitted under the law in establishments licensed for such activity. A legislative committee recently amended rules to note that Maine residents who have lived in the state for at least four years would have to claim at least 51% ownership of a cannabis company to qualify for a recreational license. The state’s Veterans and Legal Affairs Committee voted to approve the rules and send them to the full Maine Legislature.

The largest operators would be allowed 20,000 square feet of canopy for mature plants with outdoor operators paying licensing fees of $15,000 and indoor-outdoor cultivators paying $30,000, according to an outline of the rules from Bangor Daily News. 

Application fees for the smallest licensees, Tier 1, are set at $100; all other tiers are $500. Nurseries would pay $60 under the proposed rules. Manufacturers, dispensaries and testing laboratories would each pay $250 application fees; manufacturers and retailers would pay $2,500 in licensing fees while labs would pay $1,000.

Additionally, anyone involved in any aspect of the industry would need a state-issued identification card and must undergo a background check by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The fee for the background check and the card will cost $50 up front, then $50 annually.

New Hampshire Cannabis Business Licensing

Cannabis is permitted for medical use but illegal for recreational use, however possession is decriminalized for up to three-quarters of an ounce as of July 2017. When medical cannabis was signed into law, it is and remains, one of the stricter MMJ bills in the nation, allowing cannabis only after all other treatment methods have failed. 

Gov. Hassan originally modified the measure to prohibit patients from growing their own cannabis but the Senate has recently approved a bill that will allow the state’s registered patients to grow three immature, six mature and 12 seedlings after they register with the state. There are about 7,000 registered patients in the state but only four dispensaries.

An application fee is to be established by the commission in addition to a $500 fee for the municipality to review the application, with the exception that the fee shall be $75 in the case of the smallest tier of cultivation facilities. The non-refundable portion of application fees shall not exceed $1,000, adjusted annually for inflation. The application, registration and annual renewal fees for the smallest tier of cultivation facilities may not exceed $250, and all other registration and annual renewal fees shall not exceed $10,000, unless the commission determines a greater fee is necessary.

Vermont Cannabis Business Licensing

Cannabis is legal for medical and recreational usage in Vermont. Medical use was legalized in mid-2004, possession was decriminalized in 2013, and recreational use by adults (21 years and older) was legalized in 2018. Currently, home cultivation is allowed as there is not yet a system to regulate retail production and sale of marijuana.

The Board shall begin accepting applications on or before Sept. 15, 2020, for cannabis business cultivator licenses and testing laboratory licenses.

Massachusetts Cannabis Business Licensing

Cannabis is legal for medical and recreational use in Massachusetts, however, Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard pose a Catch-22 exception to these laws as they are islands separated from the mainland by federal waters. The state laws require a medical dispensary in every county; while each island is its own county, federal jurisdiction does not allow shipping mainland-grown product to the islands. State law requires marijuana grown on the island to be tested in state labs, which are located on the mainland.

Licensing for Indoor or Outdoor Cultivator is as follows:

  • Tier 1: up to 5,000 square feet. Application fees: $200 (I)/$100 (O). Annual fees: $1,250 (I)/$625 (O) 
  • Tier 2: 5,001 to 10,000 sq. ft. Application fees: $400 (I)/$200 (O) Annual fees: $2,500 (I)/$1,250 (O) 
  • Tier 3: 10,001 to 20,000 sq. ft. Application fees: $600 (I)/$300 (O) Annual fees: $5,000 (I)/$2,500 (O) 
  • Tier 4: 20,001 to 30,000 sq. ft. Application fees: $600 (I)/$300 (O) Annual fees: $7,500 (I)/$3,750 (O)
  • Tier 5: 30,001 to 40,000 sq. ft. Application fees: $600 (I)/$300 (O) Annual fees: $10,000 (I)/$5,000 (O)
  • Tier 6: 40,001 to 50,000 sq. ft. Application fees: $600 (I)/$300 (O) Annual fees: $12,500 (I)/$6,250 (O)
  • Tier 7: 50,001 to 60,000 sq. ft. Application fees: $600 (I)/$300 (O) Annual fees: $15,000 (I)/$7,500 (O)
  • Tier 8: 60,001 to 70,000 sq. ft. Application fees: $600 (I)/$300 (O) Annual fees: $17,500 (I)/$8,750 (O)
  • Tier 9: 70,001 to 80,000 sq. ft. Application fees: $600 (I)/$300 (O) Annual fees: $20,000 (I)/$10,000 (O)
  • Tier 10: 80,001 to 90,000 sq. ft. Application fees: $600 (I)/$300 (O) Annual fees: $22,500 (I)/$11,250 (O)
  • Tier 11: 90,001 to 100,000 sq. ft. Application fees: $600 (I)/$300 (O) Annual fees: $25,000 (I)/$12,500 (O)

For Craft Marijuana Cooperatives: If more than six locations, add $200 (I)/$100(O) per additional location for application fee, and add $1,250(I)/$625(O) per additional location for annual fees. Microbusiness, Manufacturing, Independent Testing Laboratory, Retail (brick and mortar), Third-party Transporter, and Existing Licensee Transporter application fee is $300, annual fee is $5,000. Research Laboratory application fee is $300, annual fee is $1,000. Additional fees include Application of Intent at $1,500 per application, and a Management and Operations Profile for $30,000 per application.

Learn and Network at THE Cannabis Expo

Advance your understanding of ever-evolving cannabis legislation and licensing by attending CannaCon. Whether you are hoping to start a business or are passionate about learning more, CannaCon is the place to connect with like-minded individuals.

CannaCon Northeast is rapidly approaching on Aug. 23-24. In between information sessions, this marijuana convention is a golden opportunity to meet with fellow cannabis business professionals, learn in a marijuana trade show atmosphere, and experience cannabis products and hemp products. No medical card is necessary to attend the event. Register today to get the advanced ticket pricing!

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