Maryland Dispensaries Navigate Growing Pains in Blossoming Recreational Market

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Baltimore, MD — Since Maryland introduced legalized recreational marijuana on July 1, there’s been a notable uptick in sales, with Baltimore-area dispensaries taking the spotlight. But, as the state revels in the growing industry, some dispensary owners signal significant regulatory challenges.

The increase in recreational cannabis sales is evident. Maryland saw sales rise to $91.7 million in August, up from $87.4 million in July. Despite the robust figures and the surge in demand, dispensaries, like Blair Wellness and Curio Wellness, point to the need for better clarity in state and federal regulations.

Shawn Posey of Blair Wellness commented on the recent boom, saying, “It’s been a continuous influx of orders and customers. Managing queues and ensuring customer satisfaction was tough initially, but the situation seems to be stabilizing.” He also expressed concern that many Maryland residents are unaware that recreational marijuana is now legal. “While we’re seeing steady growth, it’s expected to stabilize soon. However, the surprising element is the number of locals who are yet to realize that marijuana has been legalized.”

Wendy Bronfein from Curio Wellness echoed these sentiments. “While there hasn’t been a shortage in inventory, the market’s momentum has been slower than anticipated. Regulatory adjustments are anticipated to bolster the pace,” she stated. She also pointed to the restrictions in place, like curbside pickups being limited to medical patients and advertising constraints.

Bronfein shed light on a significant issue affecting the profitability of the industry. “Title 26 U.S. Code 280E subjects our sector to a hefty tax rate. This, combined with limited access to traditional financing, challenges the perceived profitability of our industry,” she said. Making a comparison, she mentioned that dispensaries in Missouri, a state comparable to Maryland in terms of population but with a lower median income, are generating about $30 million more in monthly sales.

Addressing the broader implications, Bronfein added, “While the subject of legalized recreational marijuana might be attractive, the reality is that many remain unaware. Between banking restrictions and advertising limitations, there’s a clear need for change.”

As the state grapples with these challenges, Maryland dispensary owners are gearing up to champion modifications at both the state and federal levels, ensuring that they can optimally serve their clientele.

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