A Look Inside Maine’s Medical and Adult-Use Cannabis Market

What’s Good LA, and Beard Bros Pharms community! My name is Derek Shirley, born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pa. After catching a felony for 4 ounces of cannabis, I became a cannabis nomad for several years. I went from living in Pittsburgh to Flagstaff, AZ, to now where I call home Gray, Maine. Here in Maine, I spend a lot of my time trying to protect and preserve the medical cannabis program.

I have my own business called People Not Parties Consulting, where I help everyday people and small businesses navigate their local and state governments without picking a political party. Enough about me, let’s get into Maine Cannabis talk! 

First off, I would like to thank Beard Bros for allowing me to share this information with you because it is clear to me that our local media only cares about the growth of our infancy Adult Use Program. This is despite the fact that sales in year three of our medical program still outperform the adult-use market month to month. That fact is even more amazing when you consider medical is made up of mainly small farms, with approximately 2100 caregivers and declining numbers.

According to this chart, found deep on our states page, you can see the medical program still has a strong foothold. What’s more interesting to me personally is that while we know this information, the local news wants to make sure everyone knows adult use “doubled” their sales. 

Sounds great, right? Seems like a lot of “growth,” but look what our local newspaper, Portland Press Herald published back in Oct. 2019:(I added the yellow)

The blue in this chart was published by our local newspaper in 2019, telling the people the “predictions’ ‘ of adult-use retail sales. The yellow are the REAL numbers they collected that I added in for comparison. As you can see, Maine’s Adult Use didn’t even hit their year 1 prediction until year 3. So while they technically did double their sales from 2021 to 2022, it still fell way below the anticipated revenue and associated tax revenue that comes with it. 

It’s time Maine and the rest of the country realize that Maine medical small farmers are some of the last of the kind, and they’re the ones really getting the short end of the stick. Hanging tough like Mainers do, these small farmers absolutely refuse to quit.

While the total caregiver count is declining, the total number of patients is still INCREASING despite adult use sales starting in 2019. Granted, last year’s increase was only about 1,000 patients, but it’s still an increase. So, what does this mean?

Maine adult use cannabis is a tourist trap market. Why would a local Mainer buy cannabis from a 3 tier or tier 4 grow? The better options are to either grow for themselves or pay $50 dollars for their medical cards, giving them access to true craft cannabis directly from the farmer (caregiver). Don’t forget the tax difference between the two is only 5.5% for medical, while adult-use cannabis adds 10%. 

The Maine medical program has been active since 1999. If you know anything about cannabis, you understand that small farmers tend to grow more fire products than large, scaled operations. Why would a Maine resident ever overpay for commercially grown weed from like a tier 3 or 4 (7k sq and up) company? That my friends, is where cannabis education needs to come into place. So, if you are ever in Maine… it’s for sure buyer beware. 

I’m a person, not a party. 

Derek Shirley 


About The Author

Derek Shirley was born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. At the age of 19, he received a felony for 4 ounces of cannabis. After, he became a “cannabis nomad”  living in Ohio, Arizona, and Maine, which he now calls home, and lives with his wife Sequoia and son Haze.

Being a cannabis nomad had its advantages, like relying on all markets for his medical cannabis needs which gives him a unique perspective of the cannabis markets. Currently, Derek operates People Not Parties Consulting, which helps local people and small businesses navigate their local and state governments without picking a political party specializing in protecting and preserving the small medical cannabis farmers of Maine. For fun, Derek enjoys screen printing and making cannabis memes under the pseudonym @gettinghighwithcats on IG. 

Keep updated on all the latest news and updates in the Cannabis industry here at Beard Bros Pharms by signing up for our Friday Sesh Newsletter here. Always Dank and Never Spam!

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