But at What Cost?
After a long wait, Mainers can finally buy legal weed without a medical marijuana card. Avid recreational smokers have been awaiting this day for four, long years. Unfortunately, while October 9, 2020, was undoubtedly a milestone for legal weed, Maine still has a long way to go.
High prices, long lines, and limited supply have been hallmarks of the legal weed revolution in Maine thus far. There simply weren’t enough legal pot shops to accommodate Maine’s recreational customers on the first day of sales. The state only gave its stamp of approval to nine dispensaries, five growers, one manufacturing facility, and one lab. This has created a serious problem when it comes to supply and demand.
There are two mechanisms at work behind the current exorbitantly high prices of recreational marijuana. First, the state has levied 10% taxes on adult-use cannabis. The six dispensaries that opened on Friday reported $9,464.34 in-state sales tax in first-day sales, alone.
The 10% sales tax is not the only thing driving up prices. The state has also imposed strict regulations on recreational growers. Growers must obtain a state license and have their products tested at a state lab. Maine has opened just one of them for the entire state. This has severely limited the supply of cannabis available to adult-use buyers. That’s also the reason only six of Maine’s nine currently licensed recreational dispensaries were able to open on Friday.
Some recreational dispensaries, such as the Theory Wellness in Portland, had to place low limits on how much marijuana customers could buy. Others, like Sweet Relief in Northport, sold out within just hours of opening their doors to recreational customers. As a result, even those willing to pay $55-65 an eight or more can’t always find what they need. They may have to settle for less potent strains of marijuana that won’t quite meet their needs or simply go without.
Not Enough Dispensaries
The state of Maine intends to continue issuing licenses to adult-use dispensaries. So far, they have gotten off to a slow start. The Maine Office of Marijuana Policy intends to continue helping existing medical dispensaries through the licensing process. It just may take some time.
Here are the six cannabis companies that have opened the door to the public to date:
1. SeaWeed Co.
2. Theory Wellness
3. Firestorm Cultivation
4. Green Cures
5. Northland Botanicals
6. Sweet Relief Shop
Marijuana aficionados from across the state flocked to these six dispensaries on Friday. Many waited in long lines outdoors to get access to the stores. Most faced purchasing limits much lower than those imposed by the state while some had to be turned away due to inadequate product supply.
The Future of Recreational Marijuana
Pot smokers of Maine, do not despair. While the 10% tax is here to stay, the prices of recreational marijuana are expected to drop. As the state licenses more growers, labs, and dispensaries, it should be easier for them to increase supply. This will reduce demand, driving down prices. For now, hold on tight and expect to pay above-average prices for medical-grade smoke and edibles.
BY: THE PRINCESS OF THE DAWN
THE GREEN INFINITY STONE WRITER