Entrepreneurs and other businesspeople are glad lawmakers voted Wednesday to push forward a legal retail market for marijuana in Maine, but they concede there’s still a long road before retail sales are reality.
And some worry that legislative delays have cost Maine a competitive advantage in the emerging industry, especially as Massachusetts readies to launch its adult-use market this summer.
Jacques Santucci, who founded the medical marijuana dispensary business Wellness Connection, said the delays in setting out regulations for recreational markets have cost Maine the advantage it had by having an established medical marijuana system in place.
“Finally Maine is catching up to the other states in New England,” he said of the vote to overturn a veto by Gov. Paul LePage that would have derailed the market for a second time. “Maine was ahead four or five years ago.”
Santucci believes some people who were interested in setting up businesses here moved south to Massachusetts, which will offer a larger retail marijuana market when sales begin in July. Massachusetts anticipates sales of $1 billion in sales by 2020.
Legal weed is big business. Worldwide, it is expected to hit $57 billion by 2027, according to Arcview and BDS Analytics, a global consultancy. The recreational market is expected to account for 67 percent of that spending with medical marijuana making up the remaining third.
By: Edward D. Murphy, Press Herold