Extraction artists in Maine could get their very own licensing system if a proposed bill goes through the state government. Under Maine’s old medical marijuana regulations, caregivers and dispensaries licensed in the system are allowed to perform their own extractions. However, legalized cannabis laws that voters passed in the fall of 2016 will ban the manufacture of cannabis concentrates when it starts being enforced.
That’s why concentrate advocates and their friends in the state Senate are proposing a bill that would create a separate licensing system for extract manufacturing, according to a new report from the Portland Press Herald.
“If we do nothing, patient access will be horribly affected, jobs will be lost and small businesses will suffer,” Joel Pepin, owner and founder of SJR Labs in Auburn, said at a recent legislative hearing. “In any maturing industry, it’s very common to witness divisions of labor within the industry. That’s what us processors … are – a niche service provider offering a service that a single caregiver would never be able to provide for themselves.”
The proposed bill is being backed by the state’s Health and Human Services Committee and its chairman Sen. Eric Brakey, R-Auburn.
If the proposal goes forward as drafted, it would allow for two different kinds of extract manufacturing licenses, one for processing up to 40 pounds of cannabis at a time and another for processing up to 200 pounds at a time.
Neither license would cost more than $300 in state fees, but that doesn’t mean it would be cheap to legally produce extracts. Chris Witherell, an extraction facility inspector in Colorado, California, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington told the Herald that it would cost roughly $2,500, plus travel expenses, to engage someone licensed to certify an extraction facility.
Because new cannabis programs generally run slow, there would be temporary solutions to allow extraction operation to continue in the state. Medical marijuana patients and caregivers can continue to perform extractions, but only using non-hazardous solvents such as alcohol. It would also allow extraction labs already in production to continue their operations while the DHHS forms its rules and begins issuing licenses.
Photo via Flickr user WeedPornDaily