Maine’s medical marijuana sales reached $221.8 million from January through October of this year, according to sales tax data reported by the Department of Administration and Financial Services. That figure makes cannabis Maine’s biggest crop, edging out potato sales ($184.1 million), milk sales ($123.6 million), and blueberry sales ($26 million).
The $221.8 million stems from Maine’s eight dispensaries, 2,981 licensed caregivers, and an approximate consumer base of around 65 million card-carrying marijuana patients. Market growth has more than doubled Maine’s total sales reported in 2019, when medical marijuana brought in over $109 million. At the time, that figure was about twice as much as industry experts predicted, and 2020 sales have already improved on that by 152%.
What About Recreational Marijuana Sales in Maine?
Those numbers alone are impressive, and they don’t even include the state’s recreational marijuana sales. After a tumultuous start to the state’s adult-use market – including supply shortages, purchase limits, and a small number of stores – legal sales in Maine commenced on October 9th. According to the Office of Marijuana Policy, over 1.4 million worth of product was sold in the following month – along with nearly $22 million collected from medical marijuana sales. All in all, the market is on pace to hit nearly $270 million for the year.
And while most industries have seen a continuous decline in revenue due to the effects of COVID-19, lockdowns and restrictions haven’t seemed to negatively influence marijuana sales – quite the opposite, actually.
During a Pandemic, Is Marijuana on the Same Level as Alcohol?
Cannabis sales spiked when COVID-related restrictions were first implemented in early 2020. According to sources at New Frontier Data, legal marijuana sales increased by nearly 50% from March to April in key markets like Massachusetts and Colorado. With marijuana’s known uses in treating anxiety and depression, it’s no surprise that sales increased amidst worldwide uncertainty and unease. Further explaining why cannabis sales are seemingly pandemic-proof, Patrick Anderson – CEO of Anderson Economic Group and frequent publisher of national marijuana market performance reports – commented, “What we’ve learned is that no matter what, Americans are going to get their cannabis, alcohol, baking supplies and cars, regardless of the economy.”
How Fast is Maine’s Medical Marijuana Program Growing?
However, the necessity for a stay-at-home toke isn’t the only influence in Maine’s marijuana sales boost. The medical cannabis market in Maine has been steadily growing the past few years. Licensed caregivers, who accounted for nearly 76% of all marijuana sales in 2019, grew in numbers by 15% this year.
Those caregivers have been active in seeking legislative reforms that have constantly refreshed and revamped the state’s growing market. Such efforts have resulted in the elimination of the qualifying conditions list, the permission for caregivers to open shops, and the creation of a medical marijuana wholesale market within the state. Arguably most important, these reforms have led to Maine medical dispensaries being allowed to sell to patients from 26 other legal medical states – widening the market to a whole new population.
Medical Marijuana Caregivers of Maine Board Member Catherine Lewis said, “[marijuana] is really the next industry to take over main . . . it’s something people have been waiting [on] for a long time”. With Maine’s skyrocketing sales and budding recreational marijuana market, it doesn’t seem like people have to wait any longer.
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