Preliminary sales of recreational marijuana in Maine for the month of July jumped 45% from the previous month, from $6.2 million to a still unaudited $9.4 million.

According to new numbers released by the Maine Department of Administrative and Financial Services, sales of adult-use cannabis products reached $9.4 million for the month of July. The Maine cannabis market continues to experience strong growth, with a 45 percent increase in sales this July over the same month last year.

Maine’s adult-use cannabis shops sold over $9 million in marijuana goods in July, a 45 percent increase over the previous month’s total. 

The increase in sales is attributed to a more diversified market and a boost from summer visitors taking advantage of the state’s legal cannabis industry, according to retailers. 

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According to statistics from the Maine Office of Marijuana Policy, the state’s 44 licensed adult-use shops recorded 124,004 sales transactions totalling $9.4 million last month, bringing in $943,500 in tax revenue. 

Since the market opened less than a year ago, recreational cannabis sales in Maine have gradually increased, with merchants taking in approximately $1.1 million in the first month and breaking new records each month following that. 

The previous record of $9.4 million was shattered by nearly $3 million in July. 

In July, the adult-use market surpassed the medical program in sales for the first time. Medical marijuana providers in Maine reported an average of $9.4 million in product sales in a typical month in 2019, the most recent year available. 

Since it opened in October 2020 after years of delays, the adult-use market has recorded nearly $38.7 million in sales, earning the state more than $3.8 million in sales tax income.

While the Office of Marijuana Policy does not monitor sales to out-of-state residents explicitly, David Heidrich, the office’s director of engagement and community outreach, believes that summer tourism, market expansion, and the Fourth of July holiday all contributed to the sales surge.

He said the agency does not take a stance on cannabis legalization, but that individuals migrating from the illicit market to the legal market is “encouraging” as “access to adult-use cannabis increases.”

The July figures did not surprise David Vickers, proprietor of Manchester’s Origins Cannabis Co.

He described it as a rocket ship. “It’s definitely taken off….” Every month has been growing upon the previous month.”

Vicker’s company caters to the Augusta market, and although it hasn’t benefited as much from tourists as businesses in Portland or along the coast have, he has seen an uptick in sales, which he attributes to more supply and product variety, higher-quality choices, and cheaper pricing.

In July, the typical client spent approximately $76 per transaction, a pattern that has been fairly constant since the beginning of the year.

Smokable cannabis, often known as flower, accounted for approximately 57 percent of sales, down from 76 percent when the market first opened and 63 percent in January, owing to a growing and diverse product selection. 

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.

With the rise in summer visitors, the company’s two shops in South Portland and Portland witnessed increased sales of edibles and pre-rolled joints, or marijuana cigarettes, according to Kaspar Heinrici, director of business development for SeaWeed Co.

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

While business has been brisk throughout the summer months, Heinrici is certain that it will continue to grow even as the influx of out-of-state tourists begins to decrease.

“I’m hoping the Christmas season comes in and continues to accomplish for us what summer tourism did,” he added. “Then, as is customary in Maine, things will start to slow down in January.”

Brandon Pollock, owner of Theory Wellness in South Portland, Waterville, and Bangor, has seen an increase in visitors as well, and, like Heinrici, believes that the market’s ongoing growth and product diversity will balance any tourist-driven traffic loss.

“As we get closer to the (market’s) one-year anniversary, we’re seeing a lot more growers and manufacturers, so our menus are more diverse than they’ve ever been,” Pollock said. “As more people get online, I anticipate the market to expand even more. In the past several months, we’ve seen dozens upon dozens of new shops open their doors.”

The business first suffered with a lack of supply, restricted choices, and high pricing, but now that there are 46 shops, 22 production facilities, and 44 cultivation sites, customers are seeing more options and cheaper prices on the shelves. 

That pattern is unlikely to alter very soon, since the state still has 189 shops, 77 production facilities, and 211 cultivation sites awaiting permission. 

Prices are falling, which is “exactly what we expected,” according to Heidrich of the state policy office.

The average price of flower dropped from $16.68 per gram at the start of the market to $12.90 per gram, and from $56 to $47.17 for an eighth of an ounce. Seven big joints or approximately 14 cigarette-style joints may be rolled using an eighth.

In the last several months, things have started to look better, with supply finally catching up to demand, according to Pollock. Pricing have decreased somewhat, but recreational prices remain considerably more than what the medical program can provide, according to him.

According to Heinrici, the adult-use market is still trying to compete with the medical program. Medical providers, often known as caretakers in the business, are not subject to the same testing, monitoring, or taxation requirements.

“We’re doing OK, so we’re happy,” he said of SeaWeed, but he is concerned that some of the younger and smaller adult-use businesses may struggle to survive “while such powerful medicinal goods are still around.”

Vickers, who owns both a medicinal and a recreational shop, believes the markets are beginning to match more closely than they were when the adult-use industry first began.

He added, “Recreational is catching up quickly.” “I believe we will continue to experience positive growth….” There’s more choice, a lower price point (than previously), and the market is leveling out. I believe that people are becoming more aware of the benefits of cannabis on a daily basis.”

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