By Colin Young, State House News Service
In the first year of legal sales in Massachusetts, cannabis consumers bought an average of more than $1 million worth of marijuana products each day.
Since the first two marijuana retailers opened in Northampton and Leicester on Nov. 20, 2018, 31 more stores have opened and licensed stores have generated $393.7 million in gross sales, the Cannabis Control Commission announced.
“Marijuana Retailers and consumers should be commended for participating in an extremely smooth roll out of the legal adult-use cannabis industry in Massachusetts for the first year,” CCC Chairman Steven Hoffman said in statement.
“Hundreds of millions of dollars in sales are one measure of success, but I am even prouder of the way in which Marijuana Establishments have worked with the Commission to gain and preserve compliance with our regulations and patrons continue to inform themselves about the law and their responsibilities when they visit Massachusetts stores,” he added.
Though the CCC brought new retailers online in a steady rhythm, the first year of cannabis sales was not entirely smooth. One of the early stores to open had to stop taking non-medical customers when it ran out of product, which the CCC said was caused by “improper inventory management practices” on behalf of the store.
The retailer closest to Boston has dealt with a persistent shortage of flower, citing a backlog at the testing labs — which one lab has denied. And in September, Gov. Charlie Baker banned the sale of all vape products, including cannabis vapes.Concentrates, including vape cartridges, accounted for roughly 20 percent of all legal marijuana product purchases in Massachusetts, based on a one-week snapshot provided by the CCC in September.
In addition to the 33 retailers that have opened, the CCC said another 54 have secured provisional or final license approvals and are in the process of completing the CCC’s inspection process.
The CCC has licensed 227 marijuana businesses, including 71 cultivators authorized to grow nearly 2.1 million square feet of marijuana canopy throughout the state.