Nine of Connecticut’s existing medical marijuana retailers will be able to sell to recreational marijuana beginning Jan. 10, the Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection said on Friday.
Affinity in New Haven, Bluepoint Wellness in Branford, Still River Wellness in Torrington, Fine Fettle stores in Newington, Stamford and WIllimantic, The Botanist stores in Danbury and Montville, and Willow Brook Wellness in Meriden have all been informed by the department that they can start selling marijuana to all adults as soon as 10 a.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 10.
Connecticut state law requires at least 250,000 square feet of marijuana growing and manufacturing space to be approved for “adult use” before the now hybrid medical-adult use stores can start selling to adults over 21 years old. That requirement was met Tuesday with state approval of four producers, the department said.
Department of Consumer Protection Deputy Commissioner Andrea Comer said that it was always expected for medical retailers to be the first stores open in the adult use market, and they paid significant fees to fund the social equity program.
She said they expect many other businesses to open in 2023, including some non-medical stores opening in the first half of the year. But she said it’s difficult to say exactly when those stores would start opening because it depends on how quickly each business can move to get local approvals and open.
“It also depends on the license type, so delivery may be ready to go sooner than a retailer, so it’s hard to pin down a specific date,” Comer said. “But I anticipate that certainly by the end of the first half of the year, we should be seeing some of those businesses ready to go.”
Comer said it’s possible that equity joint ventures will open sooner than other businesses. The joint ventures are partnerships between existing medical retailers and another applicant who lives in a “disproportionately impacted area,” as defined by the state.
“It really is up to the business and how quickly they’re able to identify their space, get their zoning approvals and hire their employees,” Comer said.
Sales to adults who aren’t medical marijuana patients will be limited to the equivalent of one-quarter ounce, or seven grams, of marijuana flower per transaction. Four 0.5 mL vape cartridges, or two 1 mL cartridges, would be equivalent, but the conversion for edibles differs from product to product, the department said.
The limits are meant to ensure stores have an adequate supply when the market opens, and will be reviewed in the future, the department said.
Patients in the medical marijuana program will still be allowed to buy up to 5 ounces a month, but the department advised them to buy what they need before Jan. 10, or to buy from one of the nine other medical stores that will not be starting adult use sales.
DCP Commissioner Michelle Seagull said the state isn’t tracking adult use sales and who is making purchases, and people could go to multiple dispensaries and buy up to a quarter-ounce per transaction.
“There’s not going to be a database at [Department of Consumer Protection] of people who bought adult use,” she said.