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Only a year into legal medical marijuana sales, Maryland is the latest to join the list of states blowing away projections for cannabis sales. In Maryland’s case, it’s actually double what was expected.
Cannabis research firm New Frontier Data originally estimated that the first full calendar year of medical marijuana sales in Maryland — which started in December 2017 — would come in around $46 million. However, a spokesperson for the firm recently told the Baltimore Sun that sales for all of 2018 will reach $100 million in December.
Additionally, the state reported at the beginning of December that sales had reached $96 million in the first 12 months of sales between December 2017 and November 2018. Between 250 and 350 people have been applying on average every day to get approved by the state for purchasing cannabis products. The state also reported there have been 1.99 million transactions at dispensaries.
Slow Start, Fast Finish
It’s worth noting that this is just the first year. Both the Sun and other Maryland media outlets reported that dispensary owners had a slow start in the first half of 2018. However, things changed around Labor Day, Marc Spataro, owner of the Chesacana dispensary, told CBS Baltimore.
He tied the surge in sales partly to people just becoming aware of the ability to buy marijuana, as well as a need by many to use something other than manufactured pharmaceuticals to handle issues such as pain – a common argument among medical marijuana proponents.
“The growth will continue at a rapid rate,” he predicted.
More than doubling projections is dramatic. But what’s happening in Maryland is typical for states selling both creational and medical marijuana. Looks at these numbers:
- California sold $445 million in marijuana in the third quarter of 2018 alone
- In the first five days of legal sales in Massachusetts, $2.2 million in cannabis was sold. Dispensaries in the state were making about $200,000 per day.
- Sales in Oregon has soared 29 percent in 2018, with the potential for becoming a $543 million market
- Colorado, the first state to have legal recreational marijuana sales, shows what a mature market might look like. The most recent projections from the state have sales in 2018 slightly exceeding the $1.5 billion in marijuana sold in 2017.
The numbers are backing up what experts in the industry have said along — the market is massive for marijuana. Look no further than these numbers to understand why more and more political leaders are getting behind marijuana, and the talk of crackdowns and prohibition is burning out.
December 21, 2018 at 09:36AM