Maine now hopes to start recreational marijuana sales by year-end

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Maine’s potential $300 million a year recreational marijuana program now is expected to launch sales by the end of the year, according to state officials.

That would be more than four years after Mainers legalized adult use, with recent delays stemming from the coronavirus pandemic.

The launch date is based on the first group of grow, processing and testing facilities operating by the end of September, the Portland Press Herald reported, citing state regulators.

That timeline would allow several months for the marijuana to be cultivated, processed and stocked in retail stores.

The delay of rec sales in Maine has proved costly to some applicants. Some cannabis businesses have spent tens of thousands of dollars on rent or other real estate expenses while waiting for the market to open.

The bulk of Maine communities have yet to opt-in to adult-use marijuana. But the state’s biggest cities have, though Portland’s rec cannabis licensing is in process.

The new Marijuana Business Factbook projects that Maine’s adult-use cannabis market will reach around $300 million a year within four to five years of launching. The first full year of sales could exceed $100 million.