It’s a cannabis legalization first: three neighboring states launching legal adult use sales within 60 days of each other. Rhode Island went live on December 1. New York is expected by the end of 2022. And on Friday, Connecticut’s regulators set a date for their state: January 10.
All four of the state’s licensed medical cannabis producers have been approved to expand into the adult use industry and to provide cannabis to the nine medical cannabis shops approved to expand into adult use sales.
Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection Commissioner Michelle Seagull said in a statement that she is “proud” of the work that her colleagues had done to launch the legal market.
“We know that many people are excited to participate in this marketplace, whether as a business or a consumer, and we encourage adults who choose to purchase and consume these products to do so responsibly once sales begin on January 10,” Seagull said.
For now, the state is limiting transactions to “1/4 ounce of cannabis flower, or its equivalent” in an effort “to ensure businesses are able to maintain adequate supply for both adult-use consumers and medical marijuana patients. Regulators increased the amount that patients, who often need more product, can buy, to up to five ounces each month.
Some of the largest cannabis companies in the U.S. are among those approved to grow or sell cannabis in Connecticut next month, including Curaleaf and Acreage (The Botanist).
“This is really just the start of the marketplace,” Seagull said during a press briefing on Friday morning. “There’s going to be a lot more businesses opening up over the course of 2023.”
Seagull added that there are “nearly 100 additional businesses that are somewhere in the licensing pipeline.”
Among those are “equity joint venture” licensees, which must pay a $3 million fee that will go into an equity fund. Andréa Comer, Deputy Commissioner at DCP, said on Friday that the fund currently has $50 million.
“Obviously that’s expected to grow as more license fees come in and the revenue begins to come in,” she said.
Gov. Ned Lamont announced on Tuesday that an estimated 44,000 cannabis possession convictions will be automatically erased in January, with more to follow.
Long before either Connecticut or New York legalized cannabis for adult use, both Lamont and former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo sought to link arms for a unified approach to legal adult use, as Cannabis Wire reported at the time. The governors held a press conference to promote the idea at the end of 2019, and held a summit in New York.
No such explicit collaboration is underway among these northeast states embarking upon legal adult use sales at the same time, but the industries are likely to affect each other.
“It’s really hard to know what the demand may look like on those first days. A lot of states that were very early to open had huge lines and shortages. But I think because we have neighboring states that have had this open for a bit, particularly Massachusetts, it’s unclear if we’re going to have that same degree of pent up demand in Connecticut,” said Seagull. “But we’re going to be constantly evaluating, talking to the businesses, and monitoring the situation.”