One day. Six shops. Almost $100k. Just four years after voters okayed legal weed in the state, Maine finally launched retail sales in October 2020. Six licensed marijuana shops opened for business on October 9, and per figures reported by the state’s Office of Marijuana Policy, they tallied $94,643 in sales and 10% of that total in sales tax for the state.
The totals are nowhere close to those of opening day sales in other states that went legal. Illinois, which kicked off legal recreational marijuana sales at the start of 2020, boasted $3.2 million in first-day sales — from 55 licensed retailers. Colorado, which legalized cannabis back in 2014, reported $1 million in first-day sales — but the state had nearly 36 stores open that day, too. Looking ahead, Maine budget experts anticipate adult-use sales will top $250 million by 2025.
While nine retailers are licensed to sell recreational cannabis in the state, only six opened their doors on opening day. The sticking point? A shortage of legal weed for sale — complete with tags, testing, and taxes (paid) — means that supply will have to catch up to anticipated demand. Not to worry, stoners of Maine! This happened in Illinois and Colorado, too; this is one of those commodities that requires patience, as legal supplies are generated as quickly as possible while conceding to the fact that it’s a plant that has to grow, mature, and flower before harvesting.
The limited supply meant retailers set purchase limits, ensuring that there was as much ganja to go around to as many consumers as possible. These limits meant price hikes (an eighth ounce of flower was about $55-$65). Still, as more stores open and more supply is available, prices are anticipated to even out.