In its first month, Maine’s new adult-use cannabis market reported $1.4 million in legal sales, according to state records.
Those records show 21,194 sales made at six recreational marijuana stores licensed to do business in Auburn, Bangor, Northport, South Portland and Stratton. That works out to an average transaction of about $66. About three-quarters of sales were for smokable flower, 14 percent were for concentrates and 10 percent were for edibles.
At first glance, $1.4 million isn’t much. In 2018, Massachusetts, the only other New England state with a legal recreational market, reported $440,000 in its first day of legal sales. But Maine’s opening day occurred during a pandemic, when many Mainers have lost their jobs, and included a licensing rollout that resulted in extremely limited product supply.
It also shows the market could not sustain its opening day stamina, when a half-dozen shops racked up $94,643 in sales. At that rate, the market should have recorded $2.9 million in sales. But many of the licensed stores did not open for business every day in their first month because of product shortages.
“While it is easy to focus solely on the numbers, it is important to note that the Office of Marijuana Policy’s primary objective is maintaining the high standard of public health and safety we have set for the adult-use program,” said office Director Erik Gundersen. “We appreciate the commitment our licenses have demonstrated to enact COVID protocols to ensure a safe launch.”
Since the end of the market’s first month, Maine has licensed three additional retail stores as well as additional cultivation facilities. Supply shortages are beginning to ease up, causing some stores to eliminate strict in-store purchase limits and reduce high product prices that might have hampered the market’s startup sales.
In comparison, Maine’s medical marijuana program – which includes eight licensed dispensaries, more than 200 stores run by medical marijuana caregivers and individual caregivers that operate out of their homes or embrace the delivery model – sold on average $9.4 million in medical marijuana on a typical 31-day month in 2019.
This story will be updated.