It took two years for Massachusetts to get its adult-use cannabis program up and running. But by the end of 2018, there were five recreational dispensaries in business throughout the state. First day sales added up to more than $440,000, and by the middle of December, sales had added up to around a quarter of a million dollars. The state has just a handful of shops open and yet is averaging around $2.5 million per week in pot sales with $9.3 million coming in over the first four weeks of operation. To date, Massachusetts recreational dispensaries have sold more than $24 million worth of cannabis products, including $3.4 million in the most recent week.
So, where do we go from here?
So far so good
According to Marijuana Business Daily’s annual Marijuana Business Factbook, 2018 edition, Massachusetts had near one million customers and was on pace to break $14 million in recreational sales in 2018. Meanwhile, Massachusetts’ medical marijuana program had more than 57,000 patients and 47 registered dispensaries as of Nov. 30 with more on the way.
Most of the first month’s sales came from the first two stores to open — Cultivate in Leicester and New England Treatment Access (NETA) in Northampton which collectively moved over $2.2 million in product during the first week alone. The figures would have been even higher, but due to high demand and short supply, the shops had to resort to rationing product and limiting the amount each customer could purchase.
Alternative Therapies Group (ATG) opened Dec. 15 in Salem. Then in late December, the Mass. Cannabis Control Commission awarded licenses to Verilife in Wareham and Insa in Easthampton.
You can find more back story on the industry and catch up on some of the more recent developments related to such issues as cannabis cafes and home delivery here.
Mass. cannabis outlook for 2019
Last month, in a statement to the Boston Herald, Massachusetts CCC Chairman Steven Hoffman said, “My hope is to continue building a best practice agency that we can be proud of. I think we’re in a rhythm where … four to eight retail stores will open every month.” Hoffman also pointed out that the CCC is working diligently toward licensing other business types including cultivators, product manufacturers, and labs.
Massachusetts has set no limit on the number of recreational marijuana shops in the state. According to the MJBiz Daily, CCC had received a total of 224 complete applications as of Dec. 16. So far, according to the report, 13 businesses have been awarded licenses, including five retailers, two cultivators, two testing laboratories and two product manufacturers, were awarded licenses. And those numbers are ramping up quickly.
According to experts, Massachusetts is projected to hand out more than 50 licenses this year including retailers, growers, processors, and labs. Unlike medical dispensaries in the state, recreational shops are not required to be vertically integrated. The trick will be to get the licenses into the right hands in order to strike the perfect balance between production capacity of Massachusetts’ licensed cultivators and consumer demand at the counter. The CCC says it is “putting a real emphasis on cultivation because we’re going to need the product to meet demand.”
Annual recreational retail sales are expected to total $1.3 billion-$1.6 billion in a few years, according to Marijuana Business Daily estimates.
Boston.com has provided a running list of marijuana dispensaries in Massachusetts which you can find here.
Header Image: Theory Wellness Dispensary