New data on monthly cannabis sales in Connecticut shows that numbers have increased yet again. The Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection (DCP) said in a press release that between Aug. 1-31, the combined total of both adult-use cannabis and medical cannabis sales reached almost $25 million.
“The adult-use market recorded more than $14 million in sales during the month of August, while the medical marijuana market recorded almost $11 million in sales for the same period,” the press release stated.
Medical cannabis patients purchased 278,395 cannabis products (with an average price of $39.36), while recreational consumers purchased 354,700 (with an average price of $39.49).
By product type, most sales (about 53%) included flower, followed by vape cartridges (27%), edibles (10%), extracts (7%), and “other” (4%) which pertains to products such as pills, tinctures, topicals, and more.
Adult-use cannabis was initially signed into law by Gov. Ned Lamont in June 2021, making it the fourth state to legalize recreational cannabis. Sales were initially expected to begin in 2022, and more than 15,000 dispensary applications were received in May that year.
In January, Lamont announced that he would clear approximately 42,964 cannabis convictions, as required by the state legislation that legalized adult-use cannabis. “On Jan. 1, thousands of low-level cannabis convictions in Connecticut will be automatically erased due legislation we’ve enacted,” said Lamont. “Especially as employers seek to fill job openings, an old conviction for low-level possession should not hold someone back from their aspirations.”
Adult-use sales didn’t go live until January 2023, but the state collected $250,000 in sales on the first day with eight operational dispensaries. “Today marks a turning point in the injustices caused by the war on drugs, most notably now that there is a legal alternative to the dangerous, unregulated, underground market for cannabis sales,” Gov. Lamont said of the program’s success. “Together with our partners in the legislature and our team of professionals at the Department of Consumer Protection, we’ve carefully crafted a securely regulated market that prioritizes public health, public safety, social justice, and equity. I look forward to continuing our efforts to ensure that this industry remains inclusive and safe as it develops.”
For adult-use cannabis, sales in January reached a total of $5 million, followed by $7 million in February, $9.5 million in March, $10 million in April, $11.5 million in May, $12.5 million in June, $13 million in July, and finally, $14 million in August.
Medical cannabis was legalized by former Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy, but sales tracking was not required and is not available prior to 2023. Now the state uses BioTrack for its seed-to-sale tracking data.
As seen in other states with both medical and adult-use cannabis, medical cannabis sales began to decrease the longer that adult-use sales are established. In January, $8 million in medical cannabis sales were collected, followed by $11.5 million in February, $12.5 million in March, and then a steady decrease in April with $11.5 million, May with $11 million, a slight increase above $11 million in June, followed by $10.6 million in July and finally $10.9 million in August.
In June, residents were finally permitted to start growing their own cannabis plants, up to six per home (three mature and three immature). “Adults who choose to grow their own cannabis should use safe and healthy gardening practices for growing any products they intend to consume,” said DCP Commissioner Bryan T. Cafferelli. “Plants should also be kept indoors, out of reach and out of sight from children and pets.”
According to the CT Insider, one of the state’s two cannabis testing laboratories is officially closed. The report stated that AltaSci Labs closed in March and its license became inactive, however the reason for this is “not due to any disciplinary or other action by the state,” according to DCP spokesperson Kaitlyn Krasselt.
The one remaining lab, Northeast Laboratories, is currently managing all incoming cannabis, which “continues to operate and test cannabis in Connecticut, and there has been no impact to the cannabis program.” However, some advocates believe that soon it will become an issue.
Recently, the California-based cannabis education college Oaksterdam University held a graduation for numerous Connecticut cannabis business owners. Oaksterdam received $1 million in a contract to provide an education specifically for Social Equity Council-approved students in an accelerated program.
CEO of Nautilus Botanicals, Luis Vega, shared insight about his experience in the program. “This was a valuable lesson,” Vega said. “This was awesome. There were growing pains. But I really do appreciate that the state put together a partnership with somebody.” Vega is currently working on opening two dispensaries, as well as two cultivation sites.
A total of 32 participants started the program, and 11 graduated (with eight more expected to graduate soon). As part of the deal for participation, graduates receive a 1.5% reduction off of their APR percentage rate.
Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz attended the graduation and told CT Insider that “the equity component of cannabis legalization is absolutely critical” in relation to the state’s cannabis industry. “Now we’ve got the opportunity to see entrepreneurs and small businesses hopefully develop into big businesses with people of color, women of color,” Bysiewicz added.