Maine’s adult-use cannabis retailers sold over $9 million worth of marijuana products in July, topping the previous month’s record by 45 percent. 

Retailers attribute the sales jump to an increasingly diverse market and a boost from summer tourists taking advantage of the state’s legal cannabis market. 

The state’s 44 licensed adult-use retailers reported 124,004 sales transactions totaling over $9.4 million last month, earning the state roughly $943,500 in tax revenue, according to data from the Maine Office of Marijuana Policy. 

Recreational cannabis sales in Maine have climbed steadily since the market launched less than a year ago, with retailers bringing in about $1.1 million in the first month and setting new records each month after. 

July’s $9.4 million record smashed the previous record by almost $3 million. 

July also was the first month that the adult-use market has matched the medical program in sales. In a typical month in 2019, the most recent year available, medical marijuana providers in Maine reported an average of $9.4 million in product sales. 

The adult-use market has reported about $38.7 million in sales so far, earning the state more than $3.8 million in sales tax revenue since it opened in October 2020 following years of delays.

While the Office of Marijuana Policy does not track sales to out-of-state residents specifically, it’s likely that summer tourism, market growth and the Fourth of July holiday all contributed to the sales increase, said David Heidrich, the office’s director of engagement and community outreach.

The department does not take a position on the legalization of cannabis, he said, but it is “encouraging” to see people migrate from the black market to the legal market “as access to adult-use cannabis improves.”

David Vickers, owner of Origins Cannabis Co. in Manchester, was not surprised by the July numbers.

“It’s been a rocket ship,” he said. “It certainly has taken off. … Every month has been building onto the month before.”

Vicker’s business caters to the Augusta market and it hasn’t seen the same boost from tourism that likely helped some of the shops in Portland or along the coast, but he has noticed an increase in sales, which he attributed to more supply and product diversity, higher-quality options and lower prices.

The average customer spent about $76 per sale in July, a trend that has stayed relatively consistent since at least the start of the year.

Smokable cannabis, usually called flower, accounted for about 57 percent of sales, down from 76 percent when the market opened and 63 percent in January, likely the result of a product menu that continues to expand and diversify. 

Cannabis concentrates and infused products both saw their share of the market increase, to 22 percent and 19 percent, respectively, compared with 14 percent and 10 percent in October.

According to Kaspar Heinrici, director of business development for SeaWeed Co., with the increase of summer tourists, the company’s two stores in South Portland and Portland saw more sales in edibles and pre-rolled joints, or marijuana cigarettes.

South Portland has been a popular stop for people traveling up and down the coast or commuting, he said, while the Portland store has seen more multigenerational visitors, such as adult families who may be on vacation and checking out what the state’s legal market has to offer, or locals giving tours to visiting relatives.

While the summer months have been strong, Heinrici is optimistic that business will continue to boom even as the throngs of out-of-state visitors start to wane.

“I’m hoping the holiday season kicks in and carries what the summer tourism was doing for us,” he said. “Then in January, things will start to tail off as they typically do here in Maine.”

Brandon Pollock, owner of Theory Wellness, which has stores in South Portland, Waterville and Bangor, also has noticed an increase in tourists and, like Heinrici, hopes the market’s continued expansion and product diversification will offset the loss of any tourist-driven traffic.

“As we approach the (market’s) one-year anniversary, we’re seeing a lot more cultivators, a lot more manufacturers, so our menus have more variety than they’ve ever had,” Pollock said. “I expect the market to continue to grow as more come online. We’ve been seeing dozens and dozens of stores coming online in the last few months.”

At the start, the industry struggled with limited supply, few options and high costs, but with 46 stores, 22 manufacturing facilities and 44 cultivation sites, buyers are continuing to see more options and lower prices on the shelves. 

That trend is not likely to change anytime soon – the state has 189 stores, 77 manufacturing facilities and 211 cultivation sites still in various stages of the approval process. 

Prices are on the way down, which Heidrich, of the state policy office, said is “exactly what we expected would happen.”

The average price of flower fell from $16.68 per gram at market launch to $12.90 per gram, and about $47.17 for an eighth of an ounce, down from $56. An eighth is enough to roll seven large joints or about 14 cigarette-style ones.

Things have really begun to improve in the past few months, with supply starting to catch up with demand, Pollock said. Prices have come down somewhat, though he noted that recreational prices are still significantly higher than what the medical program can offer.

The adult-use market is still struggling to compete with the medical program, Heinrici noted. Medical providers, known in the industry as caregivers, do not have the same testing, tracking and taxing constraints.

“We’re doing OK, so we’re happy,” he said about SeaWeed, but he worries that for some of the newer and smaller adult-use shops, they won’t be able to thrive “when you still have such strong medical products around.”

However, Vickers, who owns a medical store and a recreational store, said that the markets are starting to align more closely than they did when the adult-use market first launched.

“Recreational is catching right up,” he said. “I think we’ll continue to see a nice growth. … There’s more selection, a better price point (than before), and the market is settling. I think every day, people become more and more aware that cannabis is pretty awesome.”


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