Maryland’s First Week of Adult-Use Cannabis Sales Tops $20 Million

Maryland retailers rang up more than $20 million in weed purchases during the first week of regulated adult-use cannabis sales, according to state officials.

Maryland’s first week of regulated sales of adult-use cannabis totaled more than $20 million dollars, only eight months after voters legalized recreational marijuana in the 2022 general election. Legal sales of adult-use cannabis began on July 1, with nearly 100 of Maryland’s medical marijuana dispensaries now licensed to sell cannabis to all adults aged 21 and older.

During the first seven days of adult-use cannabis sales, retailers sold $20.9 million in licensed cannabis products, according to data from the Maryland Cannabis Administration. About half of that total, $10.4 million, was generated during the opening weekend of sales.

By comparison, the state’s medical marijuana dispensaries averaged $27.6 million in monthly sales for the first six months of 2023. The highest monthly revenue for the state’s medical marijuana dispensaries was in June, with a total of $42.6 million in sales for the month.

The Maryland Cannabis Administration projects that the state’s first year of recreational marijuana sales will generate up to $600 million for the newly legal industry. And with adult-use cannabis products taxed at a rate of 9%, the state stands to take in about $54 million, which will be spent on the regulatory costs of the program, community reinvestment, public health initiatives and funding for local governments.

Darren Weiss, president of Verano Holdings, the operator of four Zen Leaf retail locations in Maryland, said that he is “encouraged by the strong start to adult use cannabis sales in Maryland.”

“We often see an uptick in demand following the initial launch of adult use sales, and with sales in Maryland predicted to reach $1 billion by 2025, there is a significant opportunity for cannabis businesses and the overall economy to benefit,” Weiss said in a statement to the Baltimore Banner.

Maryland Voters Legalized Recreational Weed Last Year

In November 2022, Maryland voters legalized recreational marijuana with the passage of Question 4, a state referendum that was approved with nearly two-thirds of the vote. In April, lawmakers passed legislation to regulate adult-use cannabis production and sales beginning on July 1, followed by the signing of the bill by Governor Wes Moore in early May. Under the measure, all adults in Maryland age 21 and up with proper identification will be allowed to purchase regulated marijuana products including cannabis flower, vapes, gummies and more, with sales beginning at the state’s existing medical marijuana retailers.

The legislation also changed the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission, which regulated the production and sale of medical marijuana, to the Maryland Cannabis Administration. Will Tilburg, the acting director of the new agency, said that regulated sales of cannabis in Maryland are expected to triple over the next year with the launch of recreational marijuana sales.

“There’s more than 4 million eligible consumers versus 168,000 medical patients,” Tilburg said, according to a WBAL report late last month.

So far, the Maryland Cannabis Administration has converted the licenses of 95 medical marijuana dispensaries so that they can serve recreational cannabis customers, according to data released by the agency on June 28. Additionally, state regulators have licensed 42 cannabis cultivators and manufacturers to provide adult-use products. 

“The state of Maryland was very busy,” Chris Harvey, general manager of Panacea Wellness dispensary in Annapolis, said about the first week of regulated recreational marijuana sales.

Harvey said that since last week’s launch of adult-use cannabis sales, the shop has seen steady customer traffic and a steep increase in daily transactions compared to when the dispensary began selling medical marijuana only in October. Before recreational sales “we could go an hour without seeing people in the building,” he said. But now, sales of both recreational and medical products are strong, he said. But he does not expect the initial volume to last, noting that one week’s worth of sales is not a reliable indicator of what is to come.

“Some of this novelty will wear off soon,” Harvey said, adding that he expects Maryland’s cannabis market to become more competitive as more dispensaries open.

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