How to Start a Cannabis Delivery Service in Maine

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Maine legalized adult use aka recreational cannabis via ballot initiative in November of 2016 . The main difference between cannabusinesses in Maine and other legal states is that Maine state law requires all businesses of this type to be nonprofit.  In order to start a successful cannabis business you would need to have already been established years ago. Business owners already operating a legal medical cannabis business are given first priority when applying for recreational lcenses

Only Maine residents are allowed to open cannabis delivery businesses in the state. Maine’s municipalities are allowed to determine what happens with all cannabis businesses, including whether or not they should even be allowed to operate. Maine’s laws regarding recreational businesses will be finalized by February of 2018.

Legalization in Maine

When was cannabis made legal

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Maine legalized medical cannabis in Maine in1999, by a majority vote of Ballot Question 2 on November 2nd of that year. The law was later modified in 2009, opening the door for legal cannabis businesses in the state.

A Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol in Maine successfully submitted as a ballot Initiative on the November 2016 Ballot. Question I (The Marijuana Legalization Act) passed by a narrow margin on November 8, 2016. It authorized adult use cannabis by all adults 21 and older.

How Many Cannabis Businesses in Maine?

The Maine Department of Health and Human Services regulates and monitors the state’s legal cannabis program. In 2010 eight dispensaries were given licenses to operate in Maine.

As of yet, there is no specific application process for more potential recreational cannabis businesses, and this may not be finalized until February of 2018. The main thing to keep in mind, however, is that licensing priorities are given to already registered patient caregivers and experienced principal officers or board members of a medical cannabis dispensary.

What is the Cannabis Market in Maine Worth?

Because of the new recreational cannabis, the medical cannabis sales are expected to fluctuate. In 2016, medical sales made it up to 52.2 million. That will all change when recreational sales begin . Projections show medical sales will decrease to around 35.5 million within the next four years. On the other hand, recreational sales are projected to make it to 126 million within that same timeframe, largely making up for the losses in the medical sales.

Delivery Owner Requirements

Maine residents can legally open this type of cannabis business in Maine (after they go through all the proper channels first, but they might not be allowed to open a shop or delivery service within a specific local area (a city or county, for example). This is because local municipalities have the right to revoke marijuana business licensing or even ban it altogether. This is why it is important to be well informed of the state and local laws in your area.

License Requirements

Cannabis delivery businesses fall into the retail category. So it stands to reason that fees and licenses are the same. There is only one difference and that is that delivery services must contract cultivators or manufacturers to grow the cannabis products that they want to sell.

People applying for a cannabis business license will first of all need to be at over the age of 21, have a verifiable social security number, be a legal citizen of Maine, and they should also be either be a partnership, association, company, corporation, LLC, or organization. The board members of a corporation will also need to meet the same qualifications

Prior drug convictions could be adisqualifying factor if the offense was punishable by 5 years or more and occurred 10 years or less before the point of application).

The Department of Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry is responsible for cannabis business licenses.

Financial Requirements


Financial requirements

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The financial requirements depend largely on what type of business you are attempting to open. As such, fee amounts can vary greatly. Make sure you have the adequate amount needed

The following fees are associated with these corresponding license types:

Retail cannabis store:

  • license fee between $250 and $2,500
  • non-refundable application fee between $10 and $250

Retail cannabis social club:

  • license fee between $250 and $2,500
  • non-refundable application fee between $10 and $250

For medical cannabis retailers, there an additional Dispensary Certificate of Registration Application Fee of $12,000.

There are also the following extra fees:

  • Identification card application fee: $20
  • Background Check Fee (initial application): $31

What Are My Expected Profits?

Nationwide, cannabis dispensaries and their delivery services generally bring anywhere from 50 thousand a year up to millions. This may not be the case in Maine since the current dispensaries are nonprofit.


Because of the number of hoops to jump through, starting a cannabis business is a lengthy process. New owners can expect to spend at least a year obtaining finances, the proper licenses, and suppliers.

Consulting Companies

The following consulting companies can help you navigate the state licensing requirements, complete applications and get your business running.


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