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Retail on the Rise in Maine

While medical Cannabis is still king, sales of recreational marijuana are steadily increasing each month in Maine.

Nathan Dumloo

Maine’s adult-use marijuana program is gaining traction. At the start of legal sales, recreational Cannabis customers faced obstacles including a shortage of licensed retailers and purchasing limits resulting from a lack of adequate supply. However, three months into the program, it’s clear the state’s legal pot market has grown. 

The Office of Marijuana Policy, which is responsible for overseeing Maine’s marijuana industry, reported that retail sales have increased each month since the program’s debut in October 2020, despite operating during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. That first month saw more than $1 million in sales, followed by over $1.2 million in November and almost $2 million in December. 

Unsurprisingly, Maine’s adult-use businesses have also grown since the program launched. Sales kicked off with six licensed pot shops servicing the entire state. There are now 15 retail stores, 16 cultivation facilities and nine manufacturers in Maine, and regulators continue to issue licenses to keep up with demand. 

While the recreational industry is growing, it is still dwarfed by the state’s more established medical Cannabis program. Medical sales accounted for $22 million in October 2020 alone, compared to just over $1 million in retail sales. And the medical pot program is growing during COVID, too. From January through October 2020, Maine’s medical marijuana sales reached $221.8 million – more than double the $109.2 million in medical sales reported for all of 2019. Marijuana has become the most valuable crop in Maine thanks largely to medical Cannabis sales.

Maine voters approved a plan to tax and regulate Cannabis in 2016. After a delay of nearly four years, sales began on October 9, 2020. Regulators reported roughly 6,400 transactions over retail pot’s opening three-day weekend, which brought in $250,000 in sales.