The consulting firm that advised Washington state on launching its adult-use marijuana market has been tapped to be Maine’s cannabis consultant.

The state Department of Administrative and Financial Services announced Friday that it had selected BOTEC Analysis of Los Angeles to help write the state’s recreational marijuana rules and regulations, and amend some of its medical marijuana rules and regulations. BOTEC was one of five firms to submit proposals for the Maine job, which BOTEC said it could do for $199,900, the lowest of any of the applicants.

Once the state and BOTEC negotiate a contract, the company will be responsible for writing regulations needed to license and regulate adult-use cannabis, which was approved by voters in 2016 and watered down to a more conservative version that was passed over a gubernatorial veto by state lawmakers in May. They will also help enact a new medical marijuana law that will add new dispensaries and map out how caregivers can operate retail stores.

BOTEC is expected to finish writing the rules by the end of April. Some will require lawmakers’ approval, including development of a seed-to-sale tracking system, licensing standards, and penalties and fines for unauthorized conduct. BOTEC also will establish a cannabis testing program, which, as a technical matter, will not require legislative approval.

In its proposal, BOTEC touted itself as the first and most experienced cannabis-policy consultancy in the country. In 2012, it started working for Washington State’s Liquor and Cannabis Board, the first cannabis regulator in the nation. It helped Washington in the design, implementation, administration and enforcement of adult use and medical marijuana policies, and it also has done work for New York, Florida and Canada.

But BOTEC – an anocrym for “back of the envelope calculation” – really made its mark in Washington, where it helped pick a seed-to-sale tracking system, set up the first commercial licensing system, calculate the effect of various tax policies on prices and state revenues, estimate demand for cannabis products and the size and share of medical, recreational and black markets, and identify best practices in cultivation, processing and retail.

A review of the state’s proposal score sheet indicates BOTEC was selected due to its low cost and the strength of its qualifications and experience.

BOTEC scored a 70 out of a possible 100 points, beating out its nearest competitor, Freedman & Koski Inc. of Colorado, by 5.9 points. Freedman & Koski is made up of two principals who helped Colorado launch its recreational marijuana market. Many insiders thought Freedman & Koski would get the consulting job because the Department of Administrative and Financial Services already had hired it to write marijuana testing lab rules and regulations. It offered to take the Maine job for $276,216, the highest of any applicant.

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Freedman & Koski had partnered with Verrill Dana, a Portland law firm, to boost its experience with the state rulemaking process, but that didn’t help it land any of the 10 points available in the proposal scoring process for local business impact. None of the five applicants, which also included Guardian Labs LLC of New Orleans, law firm Barclay Damon of New York and Zoned Properties Inc. of Arizona, received any local preference points.

In a proposal it submitted last year, BOTEC took great pains to note that Maine’s situation is different from Colorado’s. It noted the shortcomings in the Colorado regulatory scheme, and highlighted the rigorous regulatory approach used in certain areas by Washington state, whose system it helped set up. BOTEC principals also have experience in New England, having conducted a 2014 marijuana market study in Vermont while working for Rand Corp.

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