After waiting four long years, residents in Maine are finally able to buy recreational pot in the state.
This past Friday six stores began selling recreational cannabis with long lines waiting outside all of them. The very first day of recreational pot sales in Maine yielded $9,464 in sales taxes.
Speaking to the Press Herald, Dan Comeau, a 46-year-old Portland resident, has been waiting almost 20 years to purchase recreational marijuana in the state legally.
He and his friend purchased adult-use cannabis from SeaWeed Co. in South Portland.
“There’s a freedom about it,” said Comeau, who was one of about 50 people waiting in a line. “I don’t have to hide it. I don’t have to talk a doctor into a medical card. Now I can buy local weed from a local shop just because it’s my birthday, because I feel like it. That’s a real gift. It’s also been a really long time coming.”
“We’ve been waiting four years and then some,” Comeau said. “I’ll wait another hour to celebrate this freedom. It’s pretty fun.”
SeaWeed owner Scott Howard invited Greeks on Peaks and Maine Maple Creemee Co. to sell food truck gyros and apple crisps in the parking lot.
“This is a big day,” said Ben Bolstridge, of Lewiston to Boston.com, after making his purchases. “It’s the first time in Maine history that you can actually buy recreational marijuana. That’s awesome. I wanted to be here today.”
It was in 2016 that Mainers approved legislation of recreational cannabis at the ballot box.
Eight shops are now licensed to sell recreational cannabis in the state but a shortage of legally tagged, tested and taxed adult-use cannabis means only six opened this past Friday.
Co-founder Brandon Pollock from Theory Wellness, which has cannabis stores in South Portland and Waterville, told Boston.com that supply is limited for the moment but said he’s pleased vendors are out of the “purgatory” after years of delays.
“It’s only going to get better from here. We should all appreciate that we have a legal access point, and we’re doing the best we can to get as much products on the shelves as quickly as possible,” he said.