Maine’s marijuana dilemma: ‘Cannabiz’ poised to grow, but in a holding pattern


Twenty-five years ago, Maine’s marijuana proprietors were more likely to be named in a local police blotter than the pages of Mainebiz.

But today, Patricia Rosi, CEO of Wellness Connection of Maine, proudly talks about her company’s business in medical-use cannabis, which Maine legalized in 1999. “This is a booming industry,” she says.

Wellness Connection launched in 2010, one year after the Legislature created a system of licensed dispensaries to serve the medical cannabis market. Today, Wellness Connection operates four of the state’s eight dispensaries, which in 2018 rang up sales totaling $23.5 million, according to state data. That’s a 40% increase over 2014 sales, and triple the 2013 total.

However, sales in 2018 were also down 13% from their peak of $26.6 million in 2016. The number of caregivers — licensed individuals who provide medical cannabis – has also shrunk to about 3,000, 9% less than the number in 2016.

Not coincidentally, 2016 was also when a citizen’s referendum allowed Maine adults to grow, own and use marijuana without demonstrating a medical need for it. Enthusiasm for the potential of pot seemed to reach a new high. [Read more at Mainebiz]