Recreational Marijuana has Big Year in Maine, Sales Nearly Double in 2022
PORTLAND (WGME) – It was a big year in Maine for recreational marijuana, with recreational marijuana sales nearly doubling in 2022.
It took four years to start selling recreational marijuana in Maine from the time voters legalized it.
Even as the price dropped, revenues continued to climb last year to a record $158 million in sales, and many expect that growth to continue.
“Marijuana is part of the tourism industry now,” recreational marijuana user Dana Emberley said.
Emberley uses cannabis to ease her back and neck pain.
“It is definitely a medical industry, and some people don’t see it as that, but it definitely is,” Emberley said. “It definitely helps people, as well as entertains people.”
“We have a lot of people come in who are looking for pain relief,” Meghan Atherton of Rose Mary Jane said. “They’re looking for stuff to help them sleep at night, and we’re here to help with that.”
The cannabis store Rose Mary Jane opened a year and a half ago in Portland.
“We were kind of expecting it to slow down a little after the holidays. It hasn’t really happened,” Atherton said.
The director of Maine’s Office of Cannabis Policy says the cannabis industry has become a serious force in the state economy.
“About 15,000 Mainers are now employed in the legal cannabis industry,” Maine Officer of Cannabis Policy Director John Hudak said.
It’s a heavily taxed industry bringing in millions in state revenue.
“We’re looking at tens of millions of dollars in tax revenue from what’s almost $160 million in sales just in 2022 alone,” Hudak said.
“The state’s been getting a ton of cannabis money,” Jim Hamilton of Grass Roots Marijuana said. “Excise tax is a big part of it. It’s $335 a pound.”
Hamilton grows hundreds of plants, which are harvested every three weeks to try to keep up with demand in his Portland store.
It’s a regulated industry with products tested for potency and purity, but it’s not without competition.
“The black market is definitely still a thing, but I think people are realizing the guy next door might have only one or two options, and they might not be that great. When you can walk into a store and you’ve got 20, 30, 40 options for different flavors of cannabis or edibles,” Hamilton said. “I think the industry still has a long way to go.”