Connecticut sets Jan. 10 launch for recreational cannabis sales

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Seven retailers in Connecticut will ring up the first recreational cannabis sales in the state sometime after 10 a.m. ET on Jan. 10.

The state Department of Consumer Protection (DCP) informed the seven existing medical marijuana dispensaries they had “successfully completed the necessary steps for conversion to a hybrid license,” the agency announced in a statement.

The seven dispensaries are:

  • Affinity Health & Wellness in New Haven.
  • Bluepoint Wellness, Branford.
  • The Botanist, Danbury and Montville (The Botanist is an Acreage Holdings subsidiary).
  • Fine Fettle Dispensary, Newington, Stamford and Willimantic.
  • Still River Wellness, Torrington.
  • Willow Brook Wellness, Meriden.

Sales will be limited to a “a total of ¼ ounce of cannabis flower or its equivalent per transaction,” according to the DCP.

Connecticut legalized cannabis in June 2021, when Gov. Ned Lamont signed Senate Bill 1201 into law.

Annual sales could exceed $375 million next year, according to the 2022 MJBiz Factbook.

With roughly 53,000 registered medical marijuana patients, MMJ sales in Connecticut were projected to be as high as $210 million in 2022.

Initially, Lamont and other state authorities expected retail sales to begin by May 2022.

But Connecticut did not begin accepting applications for one of the limited number of licenses available until February 2022, plus stores are not allowed to open until the state approves at least 250,000 square feet of cultivation and manufacturing space.

There are nine license types in Connecticut, and a total of 56 licenses will be issued under the DCP’s rules.

Licenses were issued via a lottery to qualified applicants, who then had to provide additional information, including a background check, and pay state fees before receiving provisional licenses.

Though Connecticut boasts what supporters say is a robust social equity program – with one social equity license issued for every general permit – the very first sales won’t include equity license holders.

And critics have also pointed out the steep cost of doing cannabis business in Connecticut.

With a $3 million license fee, Connecticut is believed to have the most expensive cannabis permit in the country.