Marijuana

Medical marijuana sales slump in Maine

In this Thursday, Feb. 7, 2019 photo a bud tender shows a top cannabis strain at Serra a dispensary in Portland, Ore. A U.S. senator from Oregon has proposed legislation that would give states a free hand to allow legal marijuana markets without the threat of federal criminal intervention. (AP Photo/Richard Vogel)
Richard Vogel/Associated Press
A bud tender shows a top cannabis strain at Serra a dispensary in Portland, Ore.

PORTLAND, Maine — Medical marijuana sales are down in Maine for the second straight year, a decrease that some dispensary owners blame on unfair competition.

The Portland Press Herald reports tax data shows sales at the state’s eight licensed dispensaries were at $23.5 million in 2018, a 4.1 percent decrease from the previous year.

Medical marijuana dispensary sales peaked at $26.6 million in 2016.

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Dispensary owners say competition from patients growing their own plants or using illegal delivery services has forced them to cut prices.

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Maine lawmakers are currently considering new regulations for medical and recreational marijuana that could limit non-dispensary providers.

Voters approved legalizing adult-use marijuana in 2016.

Patricia Rosi, CEO of the dispensary operator Wellness Connection, says the delay in implementing the adult-use program has created ‘‘unregulated and illegal competition.’’