Licensed cannabis retailers in Maryland sold more than $90.7 million worth of marijuana products in September, the bulk of which was driven by record-high monthly sales to adult-use consumers. Medical cannabis purchases, meanwhile, have dipped slightly following the opening of adult-use stores in July.
Adult-use sales have set a new record every month since the legal market launched. In September that number climbed to $54.3 million, up from $53.0 million in August and $51.3 million in July. Medical marijuana sales, meanwhile, were at $36.5 million—their second-lowest level of the year, behind only July.
Between the two markets combined, sales of edibles, vape products and infused products also set monthly sales records.
States typically see some decline in medical marijuana sales following the launch of adult-use markets, as a subset of patients opt to purchase adult-use products because of availability, price or convenience. Adult-use sales, by contrast, typically grow as new markets mature and more licensed businesses open their doors to all adults of 21 without the need for a patient to see a doctor in advance of making their way to a store to buy cannabis.
More businesses are expected to open as social equity applicants enter the market. Last month officials announced a technical assistance program to support marijuana social equity applicants for a business licensing round that opens in November. The Maryland Cannabis Administration will ultimately be granting a total of 179 cannabis licensees, including 75 dispensaries, 16 growers and 32 processors.
That will more than double the number of retailers in the state, where currently only existing medical marijuana dispensaries that converted to dual licenses are serving adult consumers.
Regulators have launched an online portal to allow people to check their eligibility for a social equity marijuana business license before regulators begin accepting the applications.
Equity applicants are defined as those whose business is at least 65 percent owned by people who’ve lived in a designated “disproportionately impacted area” for a minimum of five of the last 10 years. They must also have attended a public school in such an area for at least five years, or attended a four-year college in Maryland where at least 40 percent of the students are eligible for a federal Pell Grant.
The Maryland Department of Commerce (DOC) also announced last month that it has set eligibility requirements for the next round of its Social Equity License Application Assistance Reimbursement Grant program. Equity applicants can apply for the grant money to “offset the cost of accountants, attorneys and other providers of technical assistance,” though the department is encouraging people to first utilize no-cost resources through MCA and OSE before submitting applications for the funding opportunity.
DOC started accepting applications for $40 million in grant funding to social equity applicants with pre-approval in July.
Regulators have also been accepting applications to provide grants through the same fund to help existing medical marijuana businesses convert into dual licensees that can serve the adult-use market.
Amid the market launch, a Maryland tax official said in August that the state found a creative workaround with Wells Fargo in order to avoid clearly identifying marijuana tax revenue on financial forms—a policy that prohibitionists subsequently asked a federal prosecutor to investigate.
A separate Maryland law also took effect in July that prevents police from using the odor or possession of marijuana alone as the basis of a search. Another new law makes it so the lawful and responsible use of cannabis by parents and guardians cannot be construed by state officials as child “neglect.”
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