One of the fastest-growing industries in the state is back in the news, as Maine's recreational marijuana sales for 2021 were released.
According to the Bangor Daily News, Maine's recreational marijuana industry posted $70 million in sales in 2021. This number was described as "satisfactory" by industry experts.
The newspaper adds that growers and retailers are both hoping for more expansion in 2022.
And, as good as year one has been, the restrictions based around the law in-state and at the federal level, still pose serious speedbumps. The BDN notes that these include prohibitive towns, federal laws that restrict bank usage, possible oversaturation, and the ever-present black market.
Earlier this fall, the newspaper reported that more than 90% of towns in Maine still restrict the opening of recreational cannabis stores. The stigma is still a primary objection for many in Maine.
The Bangor Daily News also does a great job detailing the strict regulations levied upon the recreational industry. These include a tracking system and testing requirements that experts say are more stringent than the medicinal industry's requirements.
This is certainly frustrating for the up-and-coming entrepreneurs in the marijuana business. However, patience is a virtue. This is a brand new market for Maine. It should be to no surprise that a burgeoning industry is having hiccups.
The frustration, while understandable, may be out of place.
Maine, like many other states, is trying to provide a regulated market for a substance that is federally illegal. I can't imagine everything that went into figuring it out. While some restrictions seem more like a deterrent, it's important to remember how new this is to everyone, from grower to regulator. Regulations will hopefully evolve as the industry does.
Honestly, this seems like a good start. $70 million is a solid stimulant for the local economy. And to add some more good news, the Bangor Daily News reported prices are starting to drop due to more and more competition.
One would think more communities will start to see that allowing recreational marijuana stores will help boost the economy and promote healthy competition. And that it doesn't transform your town into Medellín, Colombia. Let the stigma go, people.
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