With adult-use sales still at least a year out in Maine, the gray market for cannabis is burgeoning – largely at the expense of the state’s regulated MMJ industry.
Sales of MMJ through Maine’s eight licensed dispensaries fell by over $2 million in 2017 – a 9% decline – on the back of an 18% drop in printed MMJ patient certifications.
Maine has a voluntary MMJ patient registry, so printed patient certifications are used to approximate patient counts in the state. Though not a perfect measure – it includes anomalies like reissues of lost certifications – industry experts believe it’s within 5% of the actual number of patients.
Although Maine’s adult-use industry is stuck in legal limbo – recreational cannabis sales are not likely to begin until 2019 – it is legal for adults older than 21 to grow, possess and consume marijuana in the state.
The sale of marijuana, however, remains illegal outside the medical market. Patients are required to have a valid, written recommendation from a physician to purchase MMJ from a caregiver or dispensary.