As retail pot shops in Massachusetts prepare to start selling next July, eager consumers may be disappointed to find empty shelves when they wander into their local cannabis outlet. Due to the lack of growers in the New England region, industry experts believe that stores will likely run out of marijuana almost immediately after opening.
According to Peter Bernard, the president of the Massachusetts Grower Advocacy Council, recreational pot shops will sell out of cannabis less than a week. He also predicts that newly opened retail outlets may not have sufficient supply until sometime around the first half of 2019. This will give existing medical marijuana dispensaries a major advantage over new competition, as they already have grow facilities in place.
This foreboding future is eerily similar to the problems that Nevada recently faced due to distribution issues. After giving the green light to retail pot shops earlier in this summer, the market faced a volatile shortage that pushed state officials to issue a "statement of emergency” and rework the law. However, in the case of Massachusetts, the lack of product will stem from lack of cultivation rather than distribution.
The transition from a humble medical marijuana program to full-blown recreational market that has an estimated value of $1.2 billion will initially lead the state’s industry down a bumpy road. Some experts believe that stores might limit the amount of cannabis that customers can purchase, giving more Bay State residents a chance to get their hands on legal greens.
To help solve this imminent issue, the Massachusetts Grower Advocacy Council is planning to unveil legislation that would allow home growers to sell their own stash to retail shops. Although this could potentially work as a stopgap, the state may need to take further action to ensure that recreational storefronts can meet the massive demand of Massachusetts cannabis users.