The state of the Massachusetts cannabis industry is young. It’s been a little over a year since Massachusetts started recreational sales in November 2018. Kush.com has been here before. Coming from Seattle Washington, where sales started back in June 2014, we have firsthand experience with new states entering the market. While many challenges remain the same, the landscape has changed in the past 6 years. With the emergence of national brands, mom-and-pop operations are struggling. For first time ventures, it’s becoming more difficult to enter the market. The Kush.com team has been monitoring the state of the industry to keep you informed, and provide tools for success.
Similar to the early state of the industry in Washington, Massachusetts is dealing with high prices, a shortage of product, and competition from the black market. This is a common challenge for states that have recently begun cannabis sales. It’s caused by slow implementation from the state, and lack of existing supply chains. One year after sales started in Massachusetts, the Cannabis Control Commission had only approved 231 of 600+ applications. In retail stores, the result can be empty shelves, and prices that are significantly higher than the black/grey market. The average price per gram in Washington was upwards of $20 when sales started. The few stores that were open for business hadn’t yet built relationships with cultivators and product manufacturers. Inventory was in short supply. The good news is that this is a temporary challenge. The key to success for many was the Kush.com marketplace platform. As more licenses were issued, they were able to connect with other licensed cannabis businesses in the state to securely facilitate transactions. Thanks to new supply chains, and a successful harvest season, the price of a gram dropped to $8 in Washington after a year. As the state of the industry stabilizes in Massachusetts, we expect prices to drop in 2020.
Massachusetts also has some challenges that are unique to the state and current landscape of cannabis in the nation. The lack of licensed testing laboratories has resulted in a backlog of lots that need to be tested. That, in addition to high standards for testing, means a large number of those lots fail. While this has affected the supply of quality smokable flower, the failed lots can be remediated to recoup the loss. Downstream, the retailers now have more access to non-flower products, but are still feeling the effects of the flower shortage. National brands have emerged on the scene in the past 6 years, and now make up a large number of licenses in newly legalized cannabis states. Their existing infrastructure puts anyone who’s new to the party at a disadvantage. Mom and pop operations will need to stay informed and connected to compete.
As more states come online in the coming years, we’ll see the state of the industry evolve across the country. While the growing pains, supply chains, and standards for testing are changing, Kush.com is here to keep you up to date. We’ve facilitated thousands of transactions across the country, and are now available in Massachusetts. If you have a great product you’d like to post for sale, or have a need to connect with vetted suppliers, sign up today to join the largest network of cannabis & hemp businesses in the world.