Massachusetts’ recreational marijuana industry recorded nearly $400 million in its first full year of sales, a strong initial sum given the dearth of retail stores throughout the state.
But the market has significant room for growth, which will come as regulators approve more applications and access to the legal market improves.
From August through October, recreational sales in Massachusetts averaged nearly $46 million per month, putting the state on pace to reach $420 million-$430 million in sales for calendar year 2019.
By 2021, adult-use sales in Massachusetts could eclipse $1 billion.
Currently, only 36 recreational retailers are open in the state – with none in Boston, the largest city in Massachusetts – making the $400 million sales figure even more impressive when compared to other adult-use markets in the United States.
When Colorado’s adult-use market launched in 2014, sales barely topped $300 million with 306 retailers licensed by the end of that year.
From July 2017 to June 2018, Nevada’s adult-use market hit $434 million in sales – slightly higher than Massachusetts’ first year but with 61 licensed retailers.
In Massachusetts, the lack of retail stores has led to product shortages, long lines and high prices.
Earlier in the year, it was common for retailers to require an appointment for rec customers to come in and shop, and although most stores are now allowing walk-ins, they limit the amount of product customers can purchase.
Limited parking also continues to be an issue with most retailers.
In addition to the operational retail stores, 53 retailers have provisional licenses, meaning they’re in the final stages of the approval process before being allowed to sell to customers, and another 166 retailers have applications pending.
While these new stores will likely take customers away from existing stores, they’ll also bring in customers that haven’t yet left the black market.
Eli McVey can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org