MAINE, USA — Maine's medical marijuana industry is twice as big as expected. Only lobsters and potatoes beat it in revenue.
Medical cannabis has been legal in the state for two decades, but now state regulators have given the industry its own tax category. It's true size and value is known for the first time. The industry itself can't believe the magnitude of the market.
In 2019 Mainers bought more than $111.6 million of legal marijuana. That's more than blueberries, maple syrup, apples, elvers, herring, and oysters combined according to the Portland Press Herald.
Maine only began tracking caregiver tax revenue in February 2019. Which leaves January's numbers uncalculated in the tally.
Graph Courtesy Cloudup.com
Activist Dawson Julia, the first caregiver to open a medical marijuana shop in Maine, tells the Portland Press Herald he hopes the new caregiver tax data will finally give the medical marijuana industry the political clout and respect it deserves.
“This is huge for us,” Julia said. “You want the tax revenue that comes from a $111 million market? Then you can’t regulate the caregiver out of existence. Sure, fix problems when they occur, but don’t fix a thing that’s not broken, ’cause what you’re doing is killing us, sending us right back to the black market.”
With the legalization of recreational marijuana, many medical marijuana caregivers want to expand to that market but they have to be up to date on their taxes to receive a license. Hence the upsweep in reporting of medical cannabis income according to the Press Herald.
The Maine Office of Marijuana Policy hopes to issue its first recreational cannabis business licenses this spring.