Portland Announces 38 Applications For 20 Recreational Cannabis Shop Licenses

How the city will decide who gets these licenses is uncertain

Thirty-eight applicants are competing for the 20 city licenses available to operate adult-use marijuana stores in Portland.

Four of the applicants who met the city’s Monday deadline for seeking a license want to operate a medical cannabis shop in Maine’s largest city, while the rest would sell adult-use marijuana. Under the city’s licensing scheme, medical and adult-use retail shops would be treated the same under the city’s zoning laws and licensing regulations.

How the city will decide who gets these licenses is uncertain. The City Council had spent a year developing a municipal marijuana zoning and licensing system, including a scoring matrix to decide who would get a retail license if it received more than 20 applications, but a court recently declared the city’s scoring matrix unconstitutional because it favored local residents.

The city is still trying to decide how to respond to the court ruling, but that might not even be necessary after November. That is when city residents will go to the polls to consider a referendum question that advocates for the elimination of the 20-license cap on local marijuana shops, and shrink the buffer between licensed stores from 250 feet to 100 feet.

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