Navigating Maine’s Retirement Evolution: A Guide for Cannabis-Focused Businesses

In January 2024, Maine is changing the retirement game for businesses with five or more employees that currently don’t offer a retirement plan. Administered by the Maine Retirement Investment Trust (MERIT), this program is set to boost financial security for employees. Let’s break down the essentials and why it matters for cannabis-focused businesses:

Program Basics:

What’s Happening: From January 2024, if you’re a Maine employer with five or more employees but no retirement plan, you’re required to get on board with the state’s Retirement Savings Program. It’s a legislative move aimed at closing the retirement savings gap, ensuring employees have a financial safety net.

Why It Matters: Maine’s rapidly growing cannabis industry is not immune to the need for robust retirement planning. With almost half of private-sector workers lacking a retirement savings account, this program directly impacts employees, enhancing financial stability down the line.

Key Takeaways:

  1. Administered by MERIT:
    • Employers, take a breath; this program will not cost you a dime, and you are not allowed to chip in either.
    • Implementation is hassle-free and straightforward, saving time for cannabis businesses keen on financial sustainability.
  2. Employee Eligibility:
    • Everyone’s invited! Full-timers, part-timers, and seasonal workers aged 18 or older can participate.
    • Employees can keep contributing even if they switch jobs—a nod to the dynamic nature of the cannabis workforce.
  3. Automatic Roth IRA Enrollment:
    • Come 2024, employees will be automatically enrolled to contribute 5% into a Roth IRA.
    • Employees have the option to completely Opt-out of the program or adjust contributions.
  4. Employer Responsibilities:
    • Mandatory registration through the MERIT portal.
    • Exemptions for those already rocking a qualified retirement plan.
  5. Key Dates to Remember:
    • January 2024: MERIT portal opens.
    • April 30, 2024: Registration deadline for employers with 15 or more employees.
    • June 30, 2025: Registration deadline for employers with 5 or more employees.

Guiding Cannabis Businesses Through Change:

As we approach the upcoming changes in Maine’s Retirement Savings Program, Cultivate Consulting steps in as your trusted ally in the dynamic world of cannabis business. Specializing in accounting, startup operations, and human capital management, we bring a comprehensive approach to consulting, tailored for the unique needs of US-based cannabis ventures. Compliance isn’t just a box to check for us—it’s ingrained in our approach. Cultivate Consulting is here to help your business not just adapt but thrive in the evolving landscape of retirement planning and beyond.


Christine Gervais

Christine Gervais is a licensed CPA, using her skills to help businesses grow and achieve their fullest potential. Christine has a Master’s degree in accounting from Southern New Hampshire University in addition to holding her CPA license for over a decade. Notably, Christine is a nationally recognized speaker providing education to other CPAs on how to best serve clients as well as instruction on a wide variety of topics for business owners on how to maximize success. Christine prides herself on the value she can bring to clients with her extensive tax knowledge and provides strategic, forward-thinking financial strategies to help clients grow. When not behind her desk, you can find Christine spending quality time with her daughter and stepson or tending to the family’s excessively loved farm animals.

At Cultivate Consulting Group, we understand that you want to achieve lasting financial stability that leads to the legacy you envision for your company and family. The problem is traditional CPA firms are not known for proactive communication, which leads to uncertainty when it comes to your business’s tax efficiency and financial standing.
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