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Maryland Dispensaries Sold $90 Million In Legal Marijuana In October, Including Record Amount Of Adult-Use Cannabis



Overall sales of legal marijuana fell slightly in Maryland in October compared to the prior month, but sales of adult-use products—which kicked off in July—were stronger than ever.

All told, licensed retailers in the state sold nearly $90 million in combined medical and retail cannabis products during October. A little more than a third of that ($35 million, or 39 percent) came from medical marijuana sales, while sales of recreational products totaled $55 million.

Sales of adult-use products have set records in every single month since the recreational marijuana market opened in July. Meanwhile October’s monthly medical cannabis sales were the lowest of the year.

October’s total medical and adult-use sales numbers were posted this week by the Maryland Cannabis Administration (MCA).

The agency also released October sales figures by product category. Marijuana flower was by far the most popular form factor, with nearly $55 million of cured bud sold. That was followed by concentrate sales ($24 million), infused edibles ($6 million) and non-edibles ($5 million) as well as just under $500,000 in shake or trim. Plant sales, meanwhile, totaled about $25,000.

Regulators are preparing to open a new licensing round for social equity applicants, with plans to issue more than 170 new licenses, including 75 for dispensaries. MCA recently issued resources for qualified social equity applicants and warned county governments to be reasonable when considering how to use zoning limits to restrict the businesses.

Maryland has so far issued 101 dispensary licenses, which are distributed relatively equally across 47 legislative districts.

MCA also recently issued guidance meant to minimize the risk of burglaries and other crimes at licensed cannabis businesses amid what they say is an uptick in thefts targeting cash at dispensaries across the state.

“These burglaries have targeted ATMs inside the dispensaries,” regulators said. “MCA is issuing this notice to help reduce vulnerability to burglaries and to help protect licensees and their employees, as well as patients and consumers.”

Marijuana retailers are typically cash-based businesses, which is largely due to federal laws limiting the ability of banks to service the cannabis industry without legal risk. That can make facilities even more appealing to burglars. Maryland cannabis regulators said that in order to prevent crime, ATMs should be moved “away from doorways, exterior doors, and windows. ATMs should not be visible from outside the dispensary.”

As regulators assess the first months of recreational marijuana sales, MCA has said officials are also actively working on a “cleanup bill” to adjust regulations that he expects will be taken up by the legislature during the next session. The agency said a series of “limited town halls” with stakeholder groups—including dispensaries, growers and patient advocates to develop permanent regulations—would help inform the proposed changes.

Meanwhile, a Maryland tax official said earlier this year that the state had to find found an unusual 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. And another law that went into force making 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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Ben Adlin, a senior editor at Marijuana Moment, has been covering cannabis and other drug policy issues professionally since 2011. He was previously a senior news editor at Leafly, an associate editor at the Los Angeles Daily Journal and a Coro Fellow in Public Affairs. He lives in Washington State.


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