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A Snapshot Of America's Medical Marijuana Markets: Maine

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A Snapshot Of America's Medical Marijuana Markets: Maine

Maine was the fourth state to adopt medical marijuana laws, enacting legislation in November 1999.

After passing adult-use laws in 2016, the Pine Street State has seen rounds of legislative back-and-forth battles to determine the market's future.

Maine's medical market could soon be reaching its peak, as adult-use markets tend to put dents into most medical marketplaces.

In 2018, Maine's population hovered 1.3 million. That year, it printed 65,368 patient certificates, according to the state's 2019 annual report.

Data from Arcview Market Research and BDS Analytics found that medical spending totaled $57 million in 2018, and is forecasted to see a significant drop to $23 million by 2024.

The adult-use market is projected to reach $396 million in spending by that time.

Maine's Medical Market

A gleaming positive from Maine's medical space is it generated the third-highest revenue of any sector in the state, totaling $112 million in 2019.

The medical market is further supported by its reciprocity laws. This allows out-of-state visitors to obtain medicine with a valid state-issued ID.

The upward sales figures continued in recent months during the COVID-19 pandemic. Shop owners reported that shoppers are buying larger quantities during these difficult times.

Medical cannabis enrollments also increased by 30% during the virus.

While enrollment is up, patient access has been a concern, namely for children.

Maine allows approved students to use medical cannabis. However, the matter is complicated by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's (SAMHSA) May 2020 decision to prohibit groups access to federal funds if it allows students to use medical marijuana.

The Maine Education Department first revealed the news.

Adult Use Taking Shape

Maine's adult-use market continues to face hurdles. However, its most major obstruction — former Gov. Paul LePage — is no longer in power. Under the leadership of Gov. Janet Mills, the state has seen a rollout of draft rules and intends to launch the market in 2020 officially.

Plans for the market rollout ramped up in March, when state officials granted 31 adult-use companies licenses.

In April, the launch was dealt its latest setback, now delayed due to the coronavirus, with a new date not yet determined.

The following month saw state officials declare that the market would not open until enough stores could open and meet the market's demand.

Later in the month, the largest city in the state, Portland, announced plans to participate in the adult-use market, granting 20 licenses and additional applicant points to those with five years or more of state residency.

The residency was the focal point of a recent lawsuit between the dispensary Wellness Connection of Maine and the state Office of Marijuana Policy. The dispensary, which has a managed services agreement with Acreage Holdings Inc. (OTC: ACRGF), won its challenge after the state determined it could not win the case.

Since then, activists have staged several protests. In June, one of the protestors and local cannabis industry worker Kevin Brown told the Press Herald that the lawsuit was buying its way into the market and changing the landscape.

The Humble Family Farms employee told the Press Herald, "This is Maine. We do everything craft, from our beer to our woodworking. We don't want corporate cannabis."

Related Links:

Legal Battles Over Maine Residency Rule Ripple Through Cannabis Marketplace

RegTalk: Maine's Adult Use Regulations Limit Industry's Access To Capital

 

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