Connecticut attorney general takes action against illicit marijuana operators

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Connecticut’s attorney general filed civil lawsuits against seven businesses accused of selling “potent, illicit” marijuana products without proper state licenses.

The Tuesday announcement by AG William Tong comes on the heels of a record month of legal cannabis sales in the state.

According to the Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection, the state’s cannabis industry reported $27.5 million in combined recreational and medical marijuana sales in December.

It’s the highest monthly total since the state launched adult-use sales in January 2023.

Combined sales for all of 2023 topped $274 million, the agency said Wednesday.

Despite such impressive sales numbers, the illicit market continues to wreak havoc in Connecticut.

In the AG’s crackdown, offending retailers include unlicensed smoke shops and distributors, all of which, officials claim, are selling dangerous products that could attract youth, according to CT Insider.

“Cannabis is legal for adults in Connecticut, but it’s not a free-for-all – retailers must be licensed and legal cannabis products must comply with strict safety standards,” Tong said in a statement.

Tong’s office identified the businesses as

  • Anesthesia Convenience & Smoke, of New Haven.
  • Greenleaf Farms, New London.
  • Planet Zaza, East Haven.
  • RZ Smoke, Suffield.
  • Shark Wholesale Corp., Bridgeport.
  • Smoker’s Corner, Norwich.
  • Star Enterprise 74, New Britain.

The civil suits allege violations of the state Unfair Practices Act, which carries fines of up to $5,000 per violation, according to the AG’s office.

Products seized from the offending businesses include edibles with as much as 600 milligrams of THC and sold in underground packaging that mimics popular snack foods.

That’s six times stronger than the 100 milligrams-per-package maximum allowed under Connecticut law and is so strong it could land an unsuspecting user in a hospital, Tong said at a news conference.

And the copycat packaging may “appeal to children,” Connecticut officials said, according to CT Insider.

Tong’s latest move against illicit cannabis follows a recent cease-and-desist order to a cannabis “gifting party” and seven other civil suits filed last year, CT Insider reported.

Of those, three have been settled and four are still pending in court, state officials told the news outlet.