An excerpt from the October 12, 2022, Portland Phoenix article: ‘The Marrakesh of Weed’: Huge tourism summer has Portland pot shops aiming high

"In Portland, business is booming, the state’s sales figures confirm. With more pandemic-related travel restrictions lifted and tourism up, the summer of 2022 taught cannabis retailers more about the burgeoning industry than any stretch since 2016, when Mainers voted to decriminalize marijuana. 

The big summer has led some to describe Portland as a kind of weed mecca unlike anywhere else in New England.

Sweet Dirt 9-acre campus in Southern Maine

While the market is certainly crowded, Jim Henry, the chief executive officer at Sweet Dirt, said it’s robust enough for them to make it work, mostly through experimenting with different products.

Sweet Dirt is a local franchise based in Eliot, with retail stores in Waterville, Bridgton and Portland, where they’ve operated out of the long-vacant former Wok Inn building in Morrill’s Corner in March 2021.

Henry praised the market’s diversity in Portland, where the clientele can support a variety of specialty cannabis goods. Edibles and infused beverages are a growing segment of the market, and other items like pre-rolled joints offer new or returning customers a way back into cannabis without having to commit to large quantities of various strains.

He said eventually, the market will have more cannabis-infused offerings, like sodas and beer, and even powdered drinks. He cited Liquid Death, a canned water company which just got a $700 million valuation, as an example of a strong sign for a growing beverage market.

As for the growing number of stores, he believes it’s a case of “the more the merrier,” bringing prices down for consumers and helping to sustain long-term interest.

“It shows legitimacy,” Henry said. “It shows the industry is moving forward. I know it can be tough to share revenue, but that will figure itself out.”

Read the article in its entirety here.