Cannabis licensing delays in Connecticut affecting total sales

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Nearly a year after Connecticut launched adult-use cannabis sales with only a handful of licensed operators, new entrants are struggling to crack into the market on the Eastern Seaboard.

Dozens of companies are still awaiting final approvals from state regulators as they navigate a lengthy and costly approval process, according to the Hartford Business Journal.

According to the most recent state data:

  • 36 applicants have received provisional licenses, or temporary approvals, as they work to get fully licensed. Some businesses have up to two years before their licensing window closes.
  • 15 applications are pending.

Access to capital, securing real estate and municipal opt-outs are the primary hurdles facing startups and smaller, independent companies from entering Connecticut’s recreational marijuana market, the Hartford Business Journal reported.

The state’s adult-use market, which is dominated by multistate operators, opened in January with only 13 licensed cannabis companies of any kind, one of the smallest cohorts among U.S. recreational launches.

MSOs operate the vast majority of the state’s 27 operational cannabis stores and its four cultivation operations.

Monthly sales of regulated adult-use and medical marijuana in Connecticut was roughly $24.8 million in October, down from roughly $25.2 million in September.

A month-over-month drop in combined marijuana sales in a newly opened adult-use market is incredibly rare and underscores some potential pitfalls of limited licensing.

In October, recreational marijuana sales accounted for sales of about $14.7 million, up 2.5% from September, according to state data.