A little more than eighteen months since the governor of Connecticut signed a cannabis legalization bill into law, legal marijuana sales have finally launched in the Constitution State.
State-licensed cannabis retailers can now legally sell marijuana products to adults 21 and older. The first nine licenses for recreational cannabis sales have been issued to existing medical marijuana retailers. Of these, seven have now started selling adult-use recreational marijuana in addition to products for medical marijuana cardholders.
Gov. Ned Lamont welcomed the start of legal marijuana sales in a statement highlighting the economic opportunities and potential for restorative justice.
“This new industry is expected to bring hundreds of new, good-paying jobs to Connecticut… [and the new law] takes a comprehensive approach to promoting social equity, focused on the neighborhoods most impacted by the war on drugs,” he said.
Connecticut’s state cannabis regulators reported that there had been more than $250,000 in recreational cannabis sales during the first day of the legal industry.
“We have had no reported issues at any of our retailers, and we are proud of the successful launch of the regulated adult-use market,” said Michelle H. Seagull, commissioner at the Department of Consumer Protection.
Under Connecticut’s marijuana legalization law, adults 21 and older are permitted to possess up to 1.5 ounces of cannabis flower in public, and store up to five ounces at home.
However, for now, recreational cannabis retailers are limiting sales to one quarter ounce to ensure there is enough of a supply for medical cannabis patients. That said, queues of customers outside the new recreational dispensaries were not as long in Connecticut as some seen in other states following the launch of legal marijuana sales.
By the end of 2023, Connecticut’s cannabis regulator is expected to issue around 40 retailer licenses across the state. You can find out where the existing dispensaries are located using the map on the Department of Consumer Protection’s website.
As well as facilitating the launch of legal cannabis sales, Connecticut’s marijuana legalization law contains provisions that enable those with low-level cannabis convictions to have the records erased, often automatically. Officials estimate almost 44,000 such criminal records have been expunged since the turn of the year.
The month prior, neighboring Rhode Island launched its own legal cannabis market while the first licensed dispensary in New York just recently opened its doors for business.