Recreational cannabis sales in Maine reached $158 Million, according to a report by the state’s Office of Cannabis Policy. This is double the revenue generated by the adult-use market in the previous year.
The Growth Of Adult Use
Maine voters approved adult use and retail of recreational cannabis back in November 2016. Sales only began in October 2020 after several changes and the employment of the Office of Cannabis Policy to correctly implement the Marijuana Legalization Act (MLA). From the first day of sales through to November 8, 2020, cannabis retailers made over $1.4 million in sales. The following year sales reached roughly $82 million, then nearly doubled in 2022 at $158 million.
Many states that have gone through the path of adult-use legalization have seen similar growth in revenue in just a few years. Cannabis legalization has had a significant economic impact on states such as Massachusetts, which reached nearly $4 billion in recreational sales in December 2022 since sales began in November 2018.
Concerns Around Recreational Legalization
The growth of the adult-use market serves as great news for the cannabis industry. However, as recreational cannabis becomes more accessible, more options and lower prices become available to consumers. As of December, the average cost of cannabis flowers has halved, from $16.68 per gram when it hit the market to $8.18 per gram.
The director of business development at Seaweed Co., Kaspar Heinrici, explained that the increase in revenue does not necessarily reflect more sales but rather an increase in licensed retailers. Heinrici added that as more dispensaries open, the sales volume could get diluted.
Recreational cannabis legalization has been shown to lead to some medical cannabis patients converting to recreational adult-use cannabis. Colorado reported a 37% decrease in medical marijuana sales in February 2022. The state made $20.3 million in sales compared to $32.5 million in the previous year.
The rules for obtaining medical cannabis tend to be stricter than those for obtaining recreational cannabis. Medical cannabis patients must have a medical card and a doctor’s recommendation, meaning they must receive regular checkups with their doctor to remain eligible. Another reason is patients’ restrictions regarding the amount of cannabis they can buy at a given time.
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