After opening weekend of recreational cannabis sales in Maine, the Office of Marijuana Policy released preliminary calculations, reporting over $258,000 in sales through 6,340 transactions, generating nearly $26,000 in sales tax.

These numbers show enthusiasm and demand for products even when inventories were low across the six stores that were open October 9 through 11.

When a brand-new industry takes off, there are inevitable, in-flight repairs, updates and modifications. Consumers will see limited products in stores for the next couple of weeks because Maine’s deliberate roll-out of the recreational market during the COVID-19 pandemic has created a gap between production and supply.

Speaking to the Portland Press Herald on Oct. 4, before stores opened, OMP Director Erik Gunderson said, “It will be a slower start, yes, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing considering our priority when we launch is to do it as safely as possible … and of course, we fully expect the industry to grow.”

Theory Wellness is located near the Maine Mall in South Portland at 198 Maine Mall Rd Suite 100, South Portland, ME 04106

Some recreational cannabis businesses had their cultivation and/or processing facilities approved before their retail licenses, others vice versa, and then some had all three approved at once.

For retail operations that did not yet have a crop ready to harvest, the state permits them to make one-time purchases of only raw, whole plants from medical caregivers. The recreational licensee can then process them on their own, from curing flowers to extracting oils. They can also purchase in larger quantities from other recreational growers.

Theory Wellness in South Portland is open seven days a week, but products are currently limited to cured flower, pre-rolls and low dose edibles. To get ready for opening and then maintain their hours, director of marketing Thomas Winstanley said they have been working hard to process as much product as possible at their facility in Waterville, which is also where their next retail location will be once the license is approved.

Flower and products cultivated and created as part of Theory Wellness’s vertically integrated facilities will be ready at some point, but with internal quality controls and additional state-level testing that must be completed, Winstanley couldn’t set a date to when.

“We have a strong base because we have deep, local ties with Maine caregivers,” he said. He ranks the skill of independent Maine growers as some of the best in the country.

Despite these limited offerings, Winstanley felt the opening weekend was “overwhelmingly positive” as consumers are well educated on the current production gaps.

“The limitations are a challenge,” he said, “but we’re working round the clock to ensure we have product. Even our co-founders have been deep into the process of trimming and packing chews! Overall, we couldn’t be prouder of the response we’ve seen so far.”

For more information about Theory Wellness’s products and operations, visit theorywellness.org/me/faq.