Maryland dispensaries identify challenges as recreational Cannabis sales continue to grow
Some Baltimore-area dispensary owners seek changes to state, federal laws.
While recreational cannabis sales continue to grow across Maryland, some Baltimore-area dispensaries are starting to identify some challenges.
Recreational marijuana became legal in Maryland on July 1. Last month, dispensaries took in more than $91.7 million, compared to $87.4 million in July, when adult use became legal.
Several dispensary owners told 11 News that keeping up with demand hasn't been an issue; however, some state and federal regulations continue to pose challenges.
"It's been busy. It's been non-stop orders, non-stop people," said Shawn Posey, with Blair Wellness. "Just trying to figure out the lines and making people feel accommodated, all that stuff's been a little challenging, but we're working it out now and things are getting a lot better."
"There's no concerns about inventory since day one," said Wendy Bronfein, with Curio Wellness. "I think the market has been to a slower start than we expected. We're looking to see some law and regulatory changes in the future that will allow us to see programs expand faster."
Posey told 11 News that despite the surge of customers over Labor Day weekend, many people still don't know it's legal.
"We're still seeing a big increase, and I think things are definitely going to start plateauing, probably, in a month or so because people are starting to see what they can buy and what they afford, and things like that. I think the main thing is that a lot of Marylanders still don't know that things are recreational," Posey said.
"For the most part, the masses aren't clearly aware. As sexy as the topic might be. people don't know it's legal," Bronfein said.
Bronfein pointed to laws that regulate curbside pickup for medical patients only, and certain products can only be sold to medical patients. Dispensaries are also restricted in their ability to advertise. On the business side, there are limits on traditional banking and customers can't use credit cards.
"Our biggest issues are (Title 26 U.S. Code) 280E, which plagues our industry with a massive tax rate, and which means we're not as profitable as the assumption this industry gets with the green rush, and we have a lack of access to capital through traditional means," Bronfein said.
Bronfein told 11 News that, in comparison, dispensaries in Missouri, which has a similar population to Maryland with a lower median income, makes about $30 million more a month in sales.
Some Maryland dispensary owners told 11 News they'll continue to lobby for state and federal changes so they can better serve their customers.