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Press Release: Maine Office of Cannabis Policy Report on Cannabis Program Shows Success in Launch, Diminished Illicit Market  

AUGUSTA – Today, the State of Maine’s Office of Cannabis Policy (OCP) released a report examining how cannabis consumption, market dynamics, and health outcomes vary by geographic region, cannabis market, and other variables. The report is the result of the OCP’s first population-based survey effort, recruiting almost 2,000 participants across 262 zip codes in the state during Winter 2021. The survey was conducted in partnership with Advocates for Human Potential Inc., led by Dr. Michael Sofis, a leading cannabis demand and consumption behavior researcher.

“We are pleased to release this report that highlights the successful launch of Maine’s adult use market,” said OCP Director Erik Gundersen. “The findings in this report point to policies and practices that promote and preserve public health and safety, while allowing legal businesses to compete.”

“The findings of this report serve as an excellent baseline for us to measure the continued evolution of our programs,” added Gundersen. “OCP strives to be a model of good governance for the cannabis industry. In addition to continuing research and producing reports like these, OCP will be conducting broader stakeholder outreach to empower industry and community participation in this goal.”

The findings of this report include past-month cannabis use prevalence, supply and demand insights, and health outcomes significantly linked to sources of cannabis. Some specific highlights from the report are:

  • A significant majority (64%) of cannabis accessed for consumption among past-month cannabis users in Maine is estimated to come from a regulated or otherwise legal source.
  • Accounting for the relatively short duration of Maine’s adult use program, the current illicit market has diminished more than expected, given other programs’ experiences.
  • The presence of an adult-use store in a consumer’s ZIP code may incentivize them to access some of their cannabis from the regulated market over the illicit market.
  • Survey respondents who accessed cannabis from adult use stores did not report negative health behaviors, such as cannabis use disorder or driving under the influence of cannabis – concerns which were prevalent in illicit and medical markets.

“Make no mistake, the findings of this report show that the implementation of the adult use market in the state of Maine may be considered an achievement in both public health and cannabis policy,” said Dr. Michael Sofis, AHP Senior Scientist and Principal Investigator for the study.

For more information on this report and OCP’s commitment to becoming more data and stakeholder informed, please visit the Maine OCP website or contact Matt Grondin, Director of Media & Stakeholder Engagement, at Matt.Grondin@maine.gov.  No rulemaking or departmental bills will result from this research in the next session.

About the OCP: The Mills Administration created OCP within DAFS in February 2019. The Office is responsible for the oversight of all aspects of legalized cannabis, including Maine’s Medical Use of Cannabis Program and the Adult Use Cannabis Program.

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