Yo, listen up! I’m about to drop some knowledge on Maine’s cannabis game. So, check it: in 2023, the regulated adult-use cannabis industry in Maine made over $200 million in sales. That’s a 36% increase from the previous year, fam. Sounds like a win, right? Well, not so fast.
These cannabis business owners are saying that the market is getting mad crowded, yo. The numbers might look good on the surface, but there are some real challenges ahead for licensed operators. John Hudak, director of the Office of Cannabis Policy, knows what’s up. He says that even though sales are skyrocketing, the price of weed has dropped by 16%. That’s not a good sign, my peeps.
When prices drop like that, it means that there’s too much ganja out there. Maine’s growers be producing way too much weed, man. Sure, it’s good for us consumers ’cause we get lower prices. But for the producers and retailers? Not so much. It’s harder for them to make those stacks when prices are going down. Eventually, we gonna see some businesses shut down, and that ain’t a vibe.
Let’s take a trip down memory lane and talk about how Maine got into this cannabis game. In 2018, the state legalized recreational marijuana sales. They started selling that good-good in October 2020. But even before that, in 2017, they made it legal for peeps to possess and grow their own weed at home. Maine was gettin’ all progressive and stuff.
But now let’s talk about those prices, ’cause they dropped more than 50%. Back in the early days of legal weed in Maine, supply was limited and prices were high as a kite. A gram of smokable cannabis flower cost around $16.68. That was back in the day when it all started. But now? That same gram costs ya only $7.53. That’s a major price drop, fam.
Mark Benjamin, the owner of Botany cannabis dispensary in Rockland, knows what’s up. His shop been booming since it opened in late 2021. But with prices going down and more licensed retailers popping up, he had to get creative. Benjamin and his crew started offering incentives to get customers to spend more dough. Gotta keep the cash flowin’, ya know?
But not everyone in the game is winning like Benjamin. Some business owners be strugglin’, especially the ones who don’t have that big money. They be droppin’ their prices just to make ends meet. The weak players be droppin’ out of the market, man. It’s tough out there.
Hayden Stokes and Zach Dolgos, the owners of The Happy Canary, been in the cannabis game for six years, supplying medical marijuana to peeps in Maine. But now they opened up their Blue Lobster dispensary in Casco, the first recreational marijuana retailer in town. They tryna get that license to grow for the adult-use market too ’cause they know that’s where the real money’s at.
Hudak got some thoughts on the future of Maine’s cannabis industry. He thinks it’s gonna keep growin’ for a few more years before it starts plateauing. David Vickers, owner of Origins Cannabis Company in Augusta and Manchester, believes that most of the growth gonna come from them southern coastal towns. So many peeps movin’ to Maine for that green, bro.
Vickers, Stokes, and Benjamin all run businesses that serve both the recreational and medical cannabis markets. They think a lot of those medical marijuana businesses gonna switch over or shut down completely, man. The Office of Cannabis Policy already warned about a “mass exodus” of medical caregivers. The number of caregivers went from 3,250 in 2016 to only 1,763 in December 2023. That ain’t a good look for Maine, yo.
So, that’s the lowdown on Maine’s cannabis scene. It might be makin’ mad money right now, but there’s some stormy weather ahead. Prices droppin’, businesses closin’, and peeps switchin’ from medical to recreational. It’s a wild ride, my friends. Stay tuned for more updates on Maine’s cannabis game. Peace out!