LD 83: How the New Law Affects Access to Cannabis Pre-Rolls, E-Cigarettes, and other items in Maine
If you are a participant in Maine's medical or adult use cannabis programs, you may be wondering how LD 83, which deals with "cannabis paraphernalia" including pre-rolls and e-cigarette cartridges, affects consumer access to cannabis and the legal requirements for cannabis providers. This blog post will explain what LD 83 is, why it was passed, and what it means for Maine's cannabis programs.
LD 83 is a bill that became law on March 15, 2023 as an emergency measure. It clarifies that cannabis paraphernalia is not a "tobacco product" and that caregivers, dispensaries, and adult use cannabis businesses are no longer required to obtain a retail tobacco license from the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) to provide "cannabis paraphernalia" to medical patients and customers over 21, respectively.
Under the new law, "cannabis paraphernalia" includes "Rolling papers, cigarette papers or wraps" as well as "Electronic smoking devices used for simulating the smoking of cannabis or cannabis products..." 22 MRSA §2422(17), 28-B MRSA §102(31-A).
This emergency legislation was promoted and passed as a result of the regulatory confusion surrounding products like pre-rolled joints and e-cigarette cartridges, which the Maine Office of Cannabis Policy (OCP) and DHHS previously interpreted to be "retail tobacco products" requiring cannabis businesses to obtain a retail tobacco license, despite the total absence of tobacco or nicotine in those products. This confusion led to a November 16, 2022 memorandum from the Maine Attorney General's office stating that it would not bring action against any medical cannabis registrant or adult use licensee for selling or providing pre-rolled cannabis without a retail tobacco license, and urging the Legislature to clarify that a retail tobacco license is not required for a medical cannabis registrant or adult use licensee to sell or give away certain cannabis products.
By passing this emergency bill, the legislature has conclusively provided that cannabis registrants and licensees are no longer required to obtain a retail tobacco license to sell or provide cannabis paraphernalia, and DHHS has issued a notice that cannabis businesses should not apply for or renew their retail tobacco licenses.
This is good news for cannabis businesses, patients, and consumers, as it reduces the regulatory burden and cost of providing cannabis paraphernalia, and helps to ensure that patients and customers have access to a wide variety of cannabis products. If you have any questions about how LD 83 affects you or your business, please contact us to discuss.