PORTLAND, Maine (AP)– Maine’s rollout of legal cannabis sales has been muted compared to other states since of the coronavirus pandemic, but shops are reporting vigorous organization nevertheless.
Maine wasn’t able to reproduce the grand opening scenes that have actually followed the first sales in other states. However regulators reported more than $1 million in sales in October, more than $1.2 million in November and nearly $2 million in December. The number of retail services likewise continues to grow.
“Regardless of all the marketplace challenges, everything from COVID to supply chains and beyond, Maine has actually done an actually good task getting this market up and running,” stated Thomas Winstanley, vice president of marketing for Theory Health, which has locations in South Portland and Waterville. “Cannabis is entering into the social material.”
Nearly a third of U.S. states have actually authorized legal adult use cannabis. That includes a number of states with longer recognized cannabis programs and 4 that just went legal in the 2020 elections and are developing programs.
But just Maine went legal in 2016 and after that took nearly four years to create a legal structure for retail sales. Those sales started in October, just as the pandemic was worsening in the state and around the country.
Marijuana sales in Maine are much less than Massachusetts, which likewise went legal in 2016 and was swifter to set up its marijuana program. Officials in Massachusetts have reported more than $1 billion in sales going back to fall 2018.
Maine is now home to 15 marijuana shops, 16 growing centers and 9 item production facilities that have active licenses. The state authorized the very first 6 active licenses in September. Dozens more licenses are in numerous places along the pipeline.
Maine’s program was customized to satisfy the requirements of a smaller sized state. The state is a good idea to take a cautious technique to growing the industry, particularly during a pandemic, said Scott Gagnon, a member of the Maine Cannabis Advisory Commission.
Customers have needed to exercise the exact same kind of social distancing and face-covering requirements as everybody else in Maine, which is subject to a statewide mask regulation from Gov. Janet Mills, a Democrat.
“In other states, on the very first day of sales, there are people lined up along the block and it’s a huge, substantial thing,” Gagnon stated. “I think it has, at least compared to other states prior to us, been less of a big offer.”
Maine’s long-established medical cannabis program, which dates to the late 1990s, is likewise still running throughout the pandemic. The medical program remains much larger, accounting for more than $200 million in sales in 2015.
Some in the medical cannabis business approached retail legalization with nervousness, and that has actually continued with the roll-out of leisure sales, said Catherine Lewis, chairwoman of the board for the Medical Cannabis Caregivers of Maine trade association.
“The way it was rolled out was more for large industrial organizations rather than the little Maine cottage market we began with the medical program,” she said.
In the meantime, however, the retail market is thrilled it’s getting up and running, even under less than perfect circumstances, said David Boyer, a Portland-based marijuana market expert.
“Maine has grown marijuana for a very long time, and with tourism down due to COVID it can be hard for some of these locations when you open,” Boyer stated. “There’s stuff on the racks.”
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