Maryland legal cannabis is providing yet another example of how popular marijuana is among residents when they finally have access to both medical and recreational cannabis. People in the state spent $21 million on cannabis in just the first week of legal sales.
On the first day of legal sales on July 1, people purchased $4.5 million in legal cannabis. Over the first weekend, sales skyrocketed to $10.4 million, according to a report from the Maryland Cannabis Administration (MCA), the state agency overseeing the Maryland legal cannabis program.
That weekend number compares to the $3.9 million in cannabis sold over the same weekend in 2022, the report stated. It wasn’t just people from Maryland, either. Dispensary shop owners said they also saw customers from Delaware and Pennsylvania.
“A lot of the people that we saw at that border state location were actually medical patients, coming from Delaware or Pennsylvania, and choosing Maryland’s adult-use program because it had better quality selection, service, and price,” Curio Wellness co-founder Wendy Bronfein told WMDT in Salisbury, Maryland. Curio is the parent company of Far & Dotter dispensaries.
Maryland Legal Cannabis Predicted to Have Profitable Future
Andrew Garrison, the MCA’s chief of policy and government, told WMDT that the sales seen in the first week are “pretty consistent with what we see in other states.” And while officials expect sales to slow after the initial week, they also foresee a profitable year ahead for cannabis companies (as well as for the state’s tax coffers).
The state’s fiscal year started July 1. By the end of June 2024, the state expects $400 million in legal cannabis sales. That works out to about $30 million every month.
Garrison said more optimistic projects call for about $50 million per month in cannabis sales. He said that the state’s large medical marijuana program will continue to drive high cannabis sales figures. He added that in the first week, “I think a lot of the initial sales were people being excited about being able to purchase safe, legal cannabis products.”
Chris Harvey, general manager of Panacea Wellness dispensary in Annapolis, Maryland, told the Baltimore Banner that he saw consistent foot traffic and between five and 10 times the number of daily transactions in the first week of Maryland legal cannabis sales. He used those numbers in comparison to the first month his shop opened in October 2022, when he sold only to medical cannabis customers.
In the past, “We could go an hour without seeing people in the building,” he said. But having both recreational and medical cannabis available has driven higher customer traffic, he said.
23 States Now Have Legal Recreational Cannabis
Maryland is now one of the 23 states where, either through a voter referendum or action by the legislature, recreational cannabis is now legal. Minnesota became the latest state to legalize marijuana for recreational use in June.
In addition to the 23 states, adult-use cannabis is also legal in the District of Columbia, Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands. Two states, Minnesota and Virginia, have not yet started legal sales.
Many of the legal states have made social equity a priority in legal cannabis programs, and Maryland is no exception. The state plans to issue 220 social equity licenses in 2024 to business owners from historically underserved communities. Those include people from poor areas or those from neighborhoods impacted the most by the war on drugs. It’s one of the most ambitious social equity programs of any state.