It's been one whole year. Plus 4 more.
What a year. In 2020, Maine finally opened up it's recreational cannabis market. After all the rigmarole, controversy, and general hoo-ha, Mainers could finally walk into a store, without any kind of medical certification, and purchase their very own cannabis. It was a big win for folks who'd been waiting 4 years for that moment.
Back in 2016, when it was first voted in, most cannabis users had hoped it would be all but immediate. A lot of folks figured that with the example of several other states that had gotten it done, that it would be days to weeks before they were buying their newly legal green stuff. Little did they know that was 4 years away.
The stores, as well as the state, have made a pile of money.
In case you were wondering how much money the cannabis industry made in it's first year..... $54 million. Yup. That's a pretty big number. That means statewide, Mainers spent over a million bucks a week on weed. That's crazy. Especially when you consider, that's just the legal market. Imagine adding the black market to that number.
I bring that up, because a lot of folks have had negative things to say about the cost of cannabis in this state. for recreational customers, an ounce of weed can cost up to, and over, $300. Where a person with a medical card can still find it for about half that. Likely the black market falls somewhere in between.
What does that all mean for the state itself?
Since Maine has an across the board tax of 10% on cannabis, the state took in nearly $6 million last year, going straight into the general fund, according to WABI. That's basically free money for the state. They don't have a huge staff of people overseeing it all, so overhead can't be insane. But a free $6 million is.
Of course it also means the state has had to compete with an increase in intoxicated drivers. This has added a lot of pressure for local police agencies to deal with, but the people voted it in. So many local law enforcement agencies are doing their best to cope with all the extra activity as well. They deserve a big hand for their efforts as well.
No matter how you look at it, weed is probably here to stay. It seems like it's only a matter of time before it reaches legal status at the federal level. Who knows what will happen then. Maybe price will go up, quality will go down, and you'll start seeing weed displays in convenience stores. Only time will tell... Let's check back in another year.