Marijuana proponents argue that establishing a legal cannabis industry is an effective way of curbing black market marijuana and preventing its risks. While cannabis industries around the country are relatively new, and black market businesses have years of advantage over them, Maine appears to be reaping the benefits of the legal cannabis industry.
According to a new report from the state’s Office of Cannabis Policy (OCP), legal marijuana is impacting black market sales, and the “current illicit market has diminished more than expected.”
The report examined feedback 2,000 Maine residents, with 64% of them claiming that they obtained marijuana products from legal sources. The report found that the majority of young adult users and those who prioritized their cannabis quality turned to legal stores in January of 2021.
Other interesting findings include the fact that people who lived closer to cannabis shops were more likely to seek out legal cannabis products, and that people who purchased legal marijuana had the same risk as others to experience cannabis use disorder and driving while impaired.
Erik Gundersen, director of the OCP, discussed these results in a press statement, claiming that they’re positive for legal cannabis and that they reinforce the benefits of having a functioning legal market. “We are pleased to release this report that highlights the successful launch of Maine’s adult use market,” he said. The findings in this report point to policies and practices that promote and preserve public health and safety, while allowing legal businesses to compete.”
Study authors are calling these results “an achievement in both public health and cannabis policy,” showing that legal cannabis provides revenue for the state and encourages the safe and appropriate use of the drug.
Maine launched their legal retail marijuana shops in October 2020, a decision that has provided the state with significant amounts of revenue.