By PATRICK WHITTLE, Related Press
PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Maine’s rollout of authorized marijuana gross sales has been muted in contrast with different states due to the coronavirus pandemic, however outlets are reporting brisk enterprise nonetheless.
Maine wasn’t capable of replicate the grand opening scenes which have adopted the primary gross sales in different states. However regulators reported greater than $1 million in gross sales in October, greater than $1.2 million in November and almost $2 million in December. The variety of retail companies additionally continues to develop.
“Regardless of all of the market challenges, every part from COVID to produce chains and past, Maine has finished a very good job getting this market up and working,” stated Thomas Winstanley, vice chairman of promoting for Principle Wellness, which has places in South Portland and Waterville. “Hashish is changing into a part of the social material.”
Practically a 3rd of U.S. states have authorized authorized grownup use marijuana. That features a number of states with longer established marijuana applications and 4 that simply went authorized within the 2020 elections and are growing applications.
However solely Maine went authorized in 2016 after which took almost 4 years to create a authorized framework for retail gross sales. These gross sales started in October, simply because the pandemic was worsening within the state and across the nation.
Hashish gross sales in Maine are a lot lower than Massachusetts, which additionally went authorized in 2016 and was swifter to arrange its marijuana program. Officers in Massachusetts have reported greater than $1 billion in gross sales going again to fall 2018.
Maine is now dwelling to fifteen marijuana shops, 16 cultivation amenities and 9 product manufacturing amenities which have energetic licenses. The state authorized the primary six energetic licenses in September. Dozens extra licenses are in varied locations alongside the pipeline.
Maine’s program was tailor-made to satisfy the wants of a smaller state. The state is smart to take a cautious method to rising the business, particularly throughout a pandemic, stated Scott Gagnon, a member of the Maine Marijuana Advisory Fee.
Customers have needed to train the identical form of social distancing and face-covering necessities as everybody else in Maine, which is topic to a statewide masks directive from Gov. Janet Mills, a Democrat.
“In different states, on the primary day of gross sales, there are individuals lined up alongside the block and it is a large, enormous factor,” Gagnon stated. “I feel it has, a minimum of in comparison with different states earlier than us, been much less of an enormous deal.”
Maine’s long-established medical marijuana program, which dates to the late Nineteen Nineties, can also be nonetheless working through the pandemic. The medical program stays a lot bigger, accounting for greater than $200 million in gross sales final yr.
Some within the medical marijuana enterprise approached retail legalization with trepidation, and that has continued with the roll-out of leisure gross sales, stated Catherine Lewis, chairwoman of the board for the Medical Marijuana Caregivers of Maine commerce affiliation.
“The best way it was rolled out was extra for giant industrial companies versus the small Maine cottage business we began with the medical program,” she stated.
For now, although, the retail business is happy it is getting up and working, even beneath lower than best circumstances, stated David Boyer, a Portland-based hashish business advisor.
“Maine has grown marijuana for a very long time, and with tourism down as a consequence of COVID it may be robust for a few of these locations whenever you open up,” Boyer stated. “There’s stuff on the cabinets.”
Observe the AP’s full marijuana protection: https://apnews.com/Marijuana
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