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More than 90 percent of Maine towns still don’t allow recreational marijuana sales

More than 90 percent of Maine towns and cities still don’t allow recreational marijuana stores, even as sales in the industry have steadily grown since they started nearly a year ago.

While Brewer and Orono are both on track to allow recreational cannabis stores sometime soon, they’ll join only three other Penobscot County communities that allow such shops — Bangor, Medway and tiny Stacyville with just 380 residents. Etna allows growing operations but not retail stores.

Across the state, only 47 of Maine’s approximately 500 towns, cities and plantations have opted in to allow recreational marijuana retailers. Fewer than a third of Maine residents, just 29 percent, live in those communities, though many more live near them, according to data from the Maine Office of Marijuana Policy and the 2020 U.S. Census.

The small number of towns allowing sales presents one hurdle to further growth for the industry, which has only been able to sell recreational weed since last October and posted its highest sales figure yet, $10.2 million, in August. A cannabis industry group acknowledged the slow growth in towns signing onto allow retail shops.

Some of the resistance to allowing marijuana shops comes from many Mainers’ association of marijuana with harder drugs that have ravaged their communities, including opioids and methamphetamine. That association became clear over the summer when Glenburn’s planning board considered a greenhouse that would grow medical marijuana, an operation municipalities cannot deny under state law. [Read more at Bangor Dailey News]

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