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Updated: January 24, 2024

Adult-use cannabis sales in Maine hit a new, um, high in 2023

Graphic / Matt Selva Maine has 218 licensed cannabis retailers. Legal sales of adult-use cannabis started in the fall of 2020.

Sales of adult-use cannabis in Maine totaled $216.9 million last year, up from $158.9 million in 2022.

Last year was just the third full year of legal retail sales. In the first, 2021, sales were $81.96 million, according to data compiled by the state Office of Cannabis Policy.

For the month of December 2023, sales of adult-use marijuana totaled $19.3 million, based on 338,983 transactions, selling at an average of $7.35 per gram. Sales last year peaked in July and August, coinciding with the tourism season.

Products sold include concentrate, infused products, plants and usable cannabis, which is the largest category, according to regulator data. 

Maine has 218 licensed stores for cannabis sales. There are also 141 licensed companies devoted to cultivation, 110 handling manufacturing and five involved in testing. 

Nationwide, sales of medical and adult-use cannabis totaled $33.6 billion last year, with revenue expected to hit $56.9 billion by 2028, according to MJBiz, which covers the industry. Medical marijuana accounts for about a third of the total sales nationally.

What to expect

Courtesy / Opus Ventures
Jacques Santucci, managing director of Opus Ventures and president of Opus Consulting Group

Sales are expected to continue to climb in Maine, with the caveat that not all businesses are going to do well, said Jacques Santucci, who monitors the cannabis industry for Portland-based Opus Consulting. The firm does work in the cannabis, hospitality and tech industries. 

"Sales in general are increasing in most markets," Santucci told Mainebiz. "In the meantime, there are more distressed companies, in Maine and other states, mostly in mature markets."

He indicated that the market has reached a saturation point in Portland, which has 29 stores, not including those in surrounding cities and towns. 

"There are not that many cannabis buyers," even with the influx of summertime buyers, he said.

Retailers have to stay nimble to keep pace with shifts in the products people are buying, he said. Newer customers are often looking for adjacent products, such as infused drinks or gummies.  

As the market has brought on new shops, not all retailers have stepped up their game.

"You have to be different. It's not enough to be open," he said. 

He compared cannabis stores to coffee shops. You can buy coffee at a gas station or you can buy coffee at a fancy coffee shop.

"They're all selling the same beverage, but they're offering a different customer experience," Santucci said. In many cases, the cannabis retailers "are not thinking about how to be different."

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