Licensed cannabis retailers in Maine sold more than $1.4 million worth of marijuana products during the first month of legal recreational pot sales, according to data released by state regulators on Monday. Legal sales of adult-use cannabis began on October 9, nearly four years after voters approved recreational marijuana sales for adults in 2016.

On Monday, the Maine Office of Marijuana Policy (OMP) released sales data collected by Metrc, the state’s cannabis track-and-trace system, for October 9 through November 8. The figures for the first 31 days of legal sales showed that smokable forms of cannabis were the most popular products, making up 76% of revenue. Cannabis concentrates accounted for 14% of sales, while infused foods and drinks made up the remaining 10%. A total of 21,194 transactions were logged by cannabis retailers during the first month in business. Sales figures released by the state are preliminary in nature and have not yet been audited by state regulators.

“In comparison, Maine’s medical marijuana program—which includes eight licensed dispensaries, more than 200 stores run by medical marijuana caregivers and individual caregivers that operate out of their homes or embrace the delivery model—sold on average $9.4 million in medical marijuana on a typical 31-day month in 2019,” reported the Portland Press Herald. 

As legal sales of recreational marijuana launched on October 9, eight retailers had been licensed by the state to begin operations, although only six shops were ready to open for business on the first day, in part due to reported product shortages. By the first week in November, a total of nine adult-use cannabis retailers were open for business in the state.

Erik Gundersen, the director of the OMP, congratulated licensed cannabis retailers on the successful launch of licensed sales while facing the ongoing challenges of a global pandemic.

“While it is easy to focus solely on the numbers, it is important to note that the Office of Marijuana Policy’s primary objective is maintaining the high standard of public health and safety we have set for the adult use program,” Gundersen said in a press release from the OMP. “We appreciate the commitment our licensees have demonstrated to enact COVID protocols to ensure a safe launch and their continued commitment to these efforts in light of the recent spike in COVID cases in Maine.”

Even with only six shops open at market launch, retailers posted more than $250,000 in sales their first weekend in business. Gundersen said then that the robust opening was a credit to both retailers and consumers, who shopped despite restrictions put in place to help control the outbreak.

“Our retail store licensees went the extra mile to implement public health measures and control vehicle and pedestrian traffic visiting their establishments,” Gundersen said at the time. “Additionally, the respect and patience shown by consumers for these protocols and their willingness to wear face coverings and maintain social distancing was very encouraging.”

Maine legalized medical marijuana with a ballot initiative in 2013 that was supported by 62% of voters. That was followed by the legalization of marijuana for use by adults and regulated recreational cannabis sales with the passage of the Marijuana Legalization Act by voters in November 2016.

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