Legal marijuana sales in Maine went into effect on October 9 and, with just six licensed retailers operating statewide, revenues exceeded $1.4 million within the first month, according to the Maine Office of Marijuana Policy. The average single purchase totaled $66, and the sales generated $141,000 in tax revenues.
Considering that Maine’s entire population is just 1.3 million, it’s clear that the Pine Tree State has gone truly green in grand fashion.
It’s been a long time coming, too. Maine voted to legalize adult-use cannabis all the way back in 2019, but legislative nitpicking and a former anti-weed governor repeatedly delayed sales until last month.
As a result, ready-to-smoke residents lined up as soon as the doors opened to legal weed outlets in Auburn, Bangor, Northport, South Portland and Stratton. First day sales came in just under $95,000.
At that rate, Maine would have hit $2.9 million in the first month, but pandemic restrictions and a sudden supply shortage that shut down most of the stores slowed the pace. Given that, and the fact a large majority of Maine residents lost their jobs this year, the $1.4 million figure seems even more impressive
“Business here is steady: not great, but okay, considering the time of year,” Mark Humphries, owner of Northland Botanicals in Stratton, told The Portland Press Herald. “October into November is always slow around here, and with COVID, slower than usual. And, of course, it’s harvest time for the locals.”
Humphries also says he worries about high prices and the fact that cannabis shops have not been deemed essential businesses. Still, the public definitely wants to buy legal weed as long as it can.
“My average sale was about $70 until two weeks ago, when I got my first delivery of edibles,” Humphries said. “Now my average sale is closer to $90 (with) edibles making up about 50 percent of sales.”
“While it is easy to focus solely on the numbers, it is important to note that the Office of Marijuana Policy’s primary objective is maintaining the high standard of public health and safety we have set for the adult-use program,” said Erik Gundersen, director of the office. “We appreciate the commitment our licensees have demonstrated to enact COVID protocols to ensure a safe launch.”