Last month introduced a brand new milestone for Maine’s fledgling leisure hashish trade, with the state’s Office of Marijuana Policy reporting $5.three million in gross sales in May for licensed retailers.

The determine makes it “the highest grossing month since the industry launched” final October.

Erik Gundersen, the director of Maine’s Office of Marijuana Policy, said in an announcement on Tuesday that one of “the main goals of cannabis legalization is to diminish the illicit market.”

“The strong month-over-month growth here in Maine, just seven months after the official launch of the industry, suggests more and more consumers are choosing the tested, tracked, and well-regulated market over the illicit market,” Gundersen mentioned. “That is a positive sign for Mainers’ health and for the viability of the industry. With Maine’s busy summer season upon us, our effective regulation of the industry will continue.”

In states and international locations the place marijuana has been legalized, the regulated market usually lags behind the illicit market, with clients ceaselessly turning to the latter for cheaper choices. 

A report in 2019 discovered that California’s unregulated market was 3 times bigger than the regulated trade, three years after the state ended prohibition on pot.

Maine’s gross sales totals within the regulated marketplace for May have been “$1 million above the previous record-breaking month of April,” based on the Office of Marijuana Policy, as licensed “retailers conducted 71,843 transactions in May, with smokable marijuana making up 59 percent of sales, while infused products and concentrates accounted for 23 percent and 18 percent, respectively.”

“In the seven months since the launch of Maine’s adult-use market, gross sales of adult-use marijuana have climbed steadily to a total of $22.77 million in Maine. Thirty-four retailers are now licensed in the program, and more than 50 municipalities across the state are opted-in to the program,” the company mentioned in a press launch on Tuesday.

Legal marijuana gross sales in Maine formally launched on October 9 of final yr, nearly 4 years after voters within the state accepted legalization on the poll. But the implementation of the brand new regulation was beset by a string of delays, starting with a recount that was triggered by the skinny margin of the initiative’s passage by voters. 

After the outcome stood, then-Maine Gov. Paul LePage, a Republican, stood in the way in which of the regulation taking impact, going so far as vetoing a invoice in 2017 that might have pushed legalization forward. 

But LePage was finally changed by Democrat Janet Mills, who supported the legalization effort, serving to the authorized trade to lastly transfer ahead.

In September of final yr, the state started issuing licenses for would-be marijuana retailers. 

When the trade opened for enterprise a month later, there have been solely six energetic licenses on the time, based on the Office of Marijuana Policy. In the primary month, the state reported gross sales of greater than $1.four million generated by a complete of 21,194 transactions. Seventy-six p.c of these preliminary month gross sales have been generated by smokable hashish.

The company mentioned on Tuesday that these licenses “conducted 16,294 transactions and grossed just more than $1 million in sales throughout the partial month, rising to approximately $4.35 million through April, with an additional $1 million added in May.”

“Since the beginning of retail sales this past fall, our adult use licensees have proven to be both innovative and resilient, as they partnered with OMP to launch a nascent industry amidst a global health pandemic,” Gundersen mentioned in an announcement. “As our state prepares to welcome visitors as part of the summer tourist season, I am confident they will remain committed to upholding the high standards we have for protecting the public’s health and safety.”

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