PORTLAND, Maine — The number of active businesses with “cannabis” or “marijuana” in their names nearly doubled last year, many in anticipation and even more after the Nov. 8, 2016, election legalized recreational marijuana in Maine.

According to the secretary of state’s office, 18 such businesses registered last year, with seven filing in November or December.

Separately, a field organizer for the legalization campaign in December took a step toward forming nonprofit Maine Cannabis Industry Association.

The survey of obviously marijuana-related Maine business names registered with the secretary of state’s office only captures a sliver of the business activity after the narrow Nov. 8 legalization vote, but it shows early signs of a rush to enter the market that’s still being formed.

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Nationally, the proliferation of legal marijuana businesses is posing challenges for growers, who are seeing prices plunge, according to Bloomberg. The trend is opening doors for companies that can help reduce production costs.

And it appears that some of the businesses newly registered in Maine may have more of that focus in mind. One Devere Cudo registered Cudo Cannabis Consulting to an Auburn address in September. Catherine Lewis, a co-owner of Homegrown Healthcare of Maine, in July registered New England Cannabis Consulting to a Manchester address, and Cannabis Business Development LLC registered in June at a Portland post office box.

Some of the businesses registered at P.O. boxes or the offices of attorneys serving as their registered agents, but a number listed other addresses, primarily in the southern part of the state.

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Those businesses were part of a steady stream of new registrants last year, from June through December, with either “cannabis” or “marijuana” in their legal names. At least one business, Door 14 Medical Cannabis, specified that it was not focused on the retail industry.

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Darren Fishell

Darren is a Portland-based reporter for the Bangor Daily News writing about the Maine economy and business. He's interested in putting economic data in context and finding the stories behind the numbers.