Fifty year old Ingrid Martinez is terminally ill and undergoing chemotherapy. Martinez uses medical marijuana to manage pain and nausea. She resides in Lowell, and before she got sick, she was working in medical coding. Martinez travels to Maine after every three weeks to buy marijuana rather than get her supplies from Massachusetts where she resides.
She has a Massachusetts medical marijuana card, but she said that the MMJ is expensive in the Bay State. Martinez stopped using marijuana at some point because she could not afford it, and that is why she travels to Maine because it is cheaper than in Massachusetts.
Although it is illegal to transport marijuana across state lines, patients from Massachusetts are driving to Maine to purchase medical marijuana because it is affordable. Late August, Maine started accepting Massachusetts medical marijuana cards, and since then, marijuana outlets bordering the states have encountered a large number of customers from the Bay State.
The marijuana outlets in Maine started receiving more customers after the officials in Massachusetts banned the sale of vaping products except those used to vape crushed marijuana buds.
The owner of Your Green Thumb Caregivers in Kittery, Pam Edwards, whose shop is less than 30 minutes’ drive from northeastern Massachusetts, said that about 30% of her business comes from Bay State residents.
Edward further said that most of her customers told her that Maine has a wide range of products with better prices. She also noted that customers from Massachusetts rub their eyes when they see the costs of the merchandise because they cannot believe they are that cheap.
Recently, the online menu for Your Green Thumb Caregivers’ price for 1/8 ounce of marijuana was ranging between $20 and $50 while the rate for the same quantity at Patriot Care in Lowell was $50. Your Green Thumb Caregivers had 35-plus flower options while Alternative Therapies in Salem had 12 options.
The Price of Weed is a website that compares marijuana prices in different states. On Friday, it showed that medium quality marijuana in Massachusetts was going for $282 per ounce while in Maine, it was $232 an ounce.
A medical marijuana patient and advocate, Mike Crawford, said that he drives to Your Green Thumb Caregivers from North Shore every week to buy legal weed at an affordable price. He noted that the first time he bought the pot, he felt like it’s Christmas.
Crawford also noted that Maine stores have more price options depending on the quality of the weed. Compared to Massachusetts, the prices and products are better in Maine.
The law governing the marijuana market in Massachusetts is stringent as it requires the medical marijuana companies to grow their marijuana products, and this controls all aspects of sales. While in Maine, there are eight licensed dispensaries, which are large businesses. The state also has caregivers and small-scale independent farmers who are allowed to open retail stores and sell marijuana.
Another reason why marijuana is cheaper in Maine is that the cost of a license application is also low. The license fee for a farmer who is looking to grow 30 mature and 60 immature marijuana plants is $1,200 in Maine, while in Massachusetts, it is $30,000 plus an application fee of $1,500.
Massachusetts also has strict testing and packaging requirements, which are non-existent in Maine.
However, there are risks involved since in Massachusetts the products have labels detailing the ingredients while in Maine, you are taking a chance with each product you buy.
Experts suggest that marijuana companies like Sproutly Canada Inc. (CSE: SPR) (OTCQB: SRUTF) (FRA: 38G) and The Supreme Cannabis Company Inc. (TSX.V: FIRE) (OTCQX: SPRWF) may need to prevail on their counterparts to form associations that set uniform standards that all products must adhere to in order to give consumers the best that the industry has to offer.
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