Officials in Maine reported on Tuesday that licensed retailers sold more than $250,000 worth of cannabis products during the state’s first weekend of legal recreational marijuana sales. The first retail cannabis dispensaries in Maine opened for business on Friday, nearly four years after voters approved recreational marijuana sales for adults in 2016.
“According to preliminary data, the long weekend (sales commencing on Friday, October 9, 2020 and concluding at end of the day Monday, October 12, 2020) saw sales of adult use marijuana surpass a quarter of a million dollars,” the Maine Office of Marijuana Policy (OMP) wrote in a tweet on Tuesday.
The total sales of recreational cannabis products for the four-day holiday weekend came to $258,411.58, according to the agency. The figure represents the revenue from 6,430 transactions, which generated a total of $25,841.16 in state sales tax. The OMP noted that the results had not yet been finalized and that all of the sales tax collected might not hit state coffers until next month.
“These figures are preliminary in nature and subject to further revision. Actual sales tax returns from the month of October are not due to the State Tax Assessor until November 15,” the agency tweeted.
State Regulator Applauds Smooth Launch
OMP director Erik Gundersen said in a press release that the first weekend of sales “went smoothly” and acknowledged both businesses and consumers for their role in the successful launch.
“Our retail store licensees went the extra mile to implement public health measures and control vehicle and pedestrian traffic visiting their establishments,” Gundersen said. “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.”
On Saturday, regulators announced that the first day of legal sales saw consumers spending a total of $94,643.38 on cannabis products, resulting in the collection of $9,464.34 in sales tax for the state. The day began with eight cannabis dispensaries with an active license for retail sales, although only six were open on Friday due to a reported shortage of product that has been tested by a laboratory and packaged for sale in compliance with state regulations.
By the end of the day on Friday, officials announced that a ninth dispensary, Hi-Lo Dispensary LLC in Poland, Maine, had received its license to begin operation, but noted that the business was not yet ready to begin serving customers.
“The licensee has indicated … they will not open for at least a few weeks,” the OMP reported in a press release.
Voters in Maine legalized the recreational use of marijuana by adults and authorized the commercial production and sale of cannabis by regulated businesses with the passage of a ballot initiative in 2016. After years of delays, the first legal recreational sales of cannabis were expected to begin in March of this year. The date was pushed back again because of the coronavirus pandemic, and retail sales finally began in the state on Friday.
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