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May 12, 2017

Sales lagging for Maine's medical marijuana dispensaries

Photo / Tim Greenway
Photo / Tim Greenway
Patricia Rosi, CEO of Wellness Connection of Maine, surrounded by marijuana plants in the drying room at Wellness Connection of Maine.

Maine's eight medical marijuana dispensaries reported their 2016 sales grew by 5.3%, slowing considerably from 46% growth reported a year earlier.

The Portland Press Herald, citing data from Maine Revenue Services, reported that dispensaries reported $24.8 million in sales of non-edible marijuana last year, which generated $1.4 million in tax revenue for the state. The newspaper reported that another $157,835 in taxes were collected from the $2 million edibles market.

The newspaper reported several factors might be contributing to the slower sales growth, including a dramatic increase in the number of small-scale growers licensed by the state to provide marijuana for up to five certified patients.

In an exclusive interview with Mainebiz earlier this year, Patricia Rosi, CEO of Wellness Connection of Maine, acknowledged that the legalization of recreational marijuana was another reason for lagging sales. Rosi told Mainebiz Senior Writer | Content Specialist Lori Valigra that WCM's 2016 sales were about $15 million, adding that even with the slowdown resulting from legalization she hopes the company can stay at the $15 million level this year.

Rosi also told Mainebiz that her company — which owns four of the eight regulated medical marijuana dispensaries in Maine (in Bath, Brewer, Gardiner and Portland) — plans to get into the recreational business when the time is right because it already has the infrastructure and investments that would be needed to enter that marketplace once it opens.

The state monitors the regulated dispensaries, but there is no active oversight of home growers or caregivers of medical marijuana. And while the new law mandates testing and stricter labeling, packaging and advertising of recreational marijuana, Rosi told Mainebiz she thinks better rules are needed to assure product quality and purity.

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