According to officials at whoThe number of caregivers applying to supply medical cannabis in the state is declining.
the Sun Magazine reports More than a quarter of Maine businesses in the state’s medical cannabis industry have closed in the past two years. Maine regulators pointed to another glaring problem, the loss of caregivers, and blamed it on oversupply in the state’s medical industry, among other problems.
the Spring report Maine’s Office of Cannabis Policy (OCP) describes a “mass exodus” of 1,350 caregivers registered with the state to supply patients with cannabis for medical use.
Despite the number of people joining the industry, from the end of 2021 to the beginning of 2023 there was a net loss of about 950 carers. Officials counted 2,070 caregivers as of March 31, according to state data. In 2021, 3,032 carers were enrolled, and at the program’s peak in 2016, there were 3,257 carers.
The report identifies several reasons why they believe caregivers are leaving the programme.
“The Maine Medical Use of Cannabis Program (MMCP) saw more than 1,350 caregivers drop out of the program from the end of 2021 to the end of January 2023,” the report states. “The effects of this displacement have been felt by the remaining carers – a net loss of over 800 carers – and have resulted in a number of unsubstantiated claims as to why this trend has emerged and why carers continue to leave the programme. Rather than relying on anecdotal evidence, early In 2023, the Office of Cannabis Policy (OCP) conducted a survey of former caregivers to get a better understanding of why so many registrants are dropping out of the program.”
The Sheriff’s Office of Phosphates blames Maine lawmakers for refusing to update the laws for five years. Although more than 1,000 caregivers have left the program, the supply has not been cut off, which OCP proves is that the market is oversaturated. The report also highlights prohibitive business and utility costs, competition with the adult use market, and banking restrictions.
“This survey shows that the biggest problem facing the medical program is oversupply,” John Hudak, director of the Office of Cannabis Policy, said in a statement. “This oversupply has led to massive drops in wholesale prices, making it difficult for registrants to withstand rising energy costs and other market conditions.”
The report also identifies another problem, in which caregivers feel as if they are under constant threat, walking on eggshells, so as not to break any rules. Caregivers say so Mandatory tracking and tracing system, installed by modern law, would be too expensive for them to handle, for example. Obviously, a lot of patients have found that they can obtain cannabis just as easily with a state ID at adult use businesses.
The caregiver revolution
OCP caregivers were asked in a survey to explain why they did not participate in the state’s medical cannabis program.
“More regulation of the size of the recreational cannabis business,” one caregiver wrote when asked for public comment. “We’ve let big companies in and open recreational cannabis cultivation and stores. No one in the public domain wants to pay $50 for a medical card.”
The former caregiver continued, “Not everyone with a small business can compete with an overly saturated market, in a time when electricity and rent prices have gone up (more than doubled), the recreational market has ruined medicine simply by growing more and dropping prices to rock bottom, by the way.” Our medical market is flooded with caregivers who have to sell illegally on the side just to survive in today’s market.”
It is important to note, however, that the response rate for the caregiver survey was only 8% or 117 completed questionnaires among more than 1,300 people contacted. The report identifies several things that must change for the medical cannabis industry to survive in Maine.