Maine is delaying the opening of its marijuana consulting proposals until Nov. 8, giving applicants an extra week to respond to new information from the state.

Would-be consultants hit the state with almost two dozen questions about its consulting solicitation, ranging from technical queries about things as minor as how to number the pages of an application and whether the consultant would be working with nongovernmental groups to develop Maine’s cannabis regulations, to more complex questions about how the state would handle potential conflicts of interest.

The state publishes interested parties’ questions, as well as its answers, in advance of the opening so applicants can incorporate them into their submissions.

The Q&A revealed that Jacques Santucci, the husband of Wellness Connection of Maine CEO Patricia Rosi, may seek the consulting job. He wanted to know if his connection to the head of the company that operates four of Maine’s eight licensed medical marijuana dispensaries would disqualify him. The state did not respond directly, but said it would address potential conflicts during the evaluation process.

“We are not sure yet if we want to apply,” Santucci told the Press Herald. “We are getting more business in Maine and in New England, in general.”

Santucci is the head of several consulting firms, including Nucleus-One, a marijuana-focused consulting company. He also runs a marijuana-focused software firm.

The Q&A revealed several consultant applicants – not necessarily Santucci – may bid on the state’s seed-to-sale tracking system. One who is in the running to be a project manager for a seed-to-sale marijuana software tracking company is bidding for work in another state and wanted to know if that represented a conflict.

The identity of the applicants won’t be known until the proposals are opened Nov. 8.

The consultant will be working with state agencies to craft new adult-use cannabis regulations and possibly amend Maine’s existing medical cannabis rules. The consultant will not be working with the Legislature – even though lawmakers will be required to approve the new adult-use regulations before they go into effect – or with outside groups interested in the regulation-writing process, according to state responses.

The applicants will be scored by a selection team based on qualifications and experience, proposed services, cost and impact on the Maine economy. The agency has not set a selection deadline, but whoever is picked must finish writing the rules no later than April 30. Last year, when the state sought advice on how to launch its adult-use market, the companies that helped Colorado and Washington state launch their adult-use markets responded with information.

 

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