CT medical marijuana patients say they’re seeing less product options since recreational sales began

(WFSB) – Medical Marijuana patients in the State of Connecticut said they are fired up.

They say, ever since recreational sales began, they’re getting left in the dust, finding fewer options to buy for higher prices.

In the last few weeks, the I-Team has gotten a few calls and emails from Medical Marijuana patients saying they can’t find what they need.

The state says they’re aware.

DECREASED OPTIONS, INCREASED PRICES:

“I want my certain strains back. I want the prices lower, all I’m looking for,” says Jay Warner, who has been using medical marijuana since it became legal in CT in 2012.

Jay Warner has been using Medical Marijuana since it became legal in Connecticut in 2012.

“I have PTSD. I have had open heart surgery; quadruple bypass and it lowers blood pressure,” says Warner.

He’s been a happy customer, until now.

“Our product has diminished. It’s half the product,” says Warner.

Warner says ever since recreational marijuana sales started January 10th, there are less options for him to buy, and at a higher price.

For example, he used to buy a strain called Second Cut, which is no longer available.

He also pointed out that a product called Rhythm Hybrid, something he once paid around $28-30 dollars for, is now $44.

Warner is a customer of Fine Fettle, a company that has several dispensary locations across the state.

He says he doesn’t blame the dispensary, they’re great. He says he’s just frustrated with the situation.

“Certain products work for me, the strains, and they’re not available to me right now so I have to settle for what’s there,” says Warner.

FINE FETTLE DISPENSARY EXPLAINS:

Earlier this week, Fine Fettle sent an email to customers, saying they want to explain what’s going on.

In this email, the company says, in part, “the medical menu has shrunk ..” and “is lacking options patients are used to seeing.”

Fine Fettle says they’ve gone from 300 to 400 plus cannabis products (excluding accessories), to about 180.

They go on to say, “Since the launch of Adult Use on 1/10/23, we have been ordering almost every single product made available to us, in the full allotments offered.”

The company pointed out that “as producers have ramped up gummy supply, they have decreased the availability of other edibles,” and “concentrate production has slowed down immensely, with producers focusing on a few select items versus an abundance of options.”

Fine Fettle says they’ve urged producers to bring back these options and continue to advocate to both the producers and department of Consumer Protection to work on getting more options.”

They said they lowered prices on certain products that are also available for adult use customers, and “try hard to keep prices the same or lower than other competitors, but we can’t compete with the vertically integrated dispensaries.”

They want customers to understand: “There is NOT a supply shortage in Connecticut. There is a SKU shortage as compared to before. We, as a dispensary, have more overall supply than ever before. Due to potency regulations, adult-use menus in Connecticut are, naturally, going to be smaller than other states.”

“Overall, there is more than enough supply for the demand of both medical and adult-use sales. However, the menu options for patients have been lowered over the past month. We believe this clarification is incredibly important to understand. There is a process in every state with legalization and we are in its infancy.”

“I think the State of CT opened up the gate too early, that’s my opinion,” says Warner.

Verano, who owns grower and dispensary CT Pharma, says in part, “They are proud to continue supplying dispensaries across the State of CT without disruption …”

By law, recreational customers are only allowed to buy a quarter ounce right now, to make sure there is enough for medical patients.

On January 10th, the amount medical marijuana patients were allowed to buy, went up to 5 ounces per month.

DEPARTMENT OF CONSUMER PROTECTION:

The Department of Consumer Protection says they do not set or regulate product prices but say they are aware about patients’ concerns.

A spokesperson says, “The department continues to monitor the supply of cannabis products and will exercise its discretion to set transaction limits appropriately based on market needs as they arise.”

FULL DCP STATEMENT:

“We are aware some patients have expressed concerns regarding the availability of certain products following the opening of the adult-use market and the increase in the allotment for medical marijuana patients to 5 ounces per month, as allowed by the law. Maintaining an adequate supply for a viable market, particularly the state’s medical patients, is the department’s priority. The department continues to monitor the supply of cannabis products and will exercise its discretion to set transaction limits appropriately based on market needs as they arise.”

Please note, the Department of Consumer Protection does not set or regulate product prices.

To file a complaint with the DCP, you can do so here: https://portal.ct.gov/DCP/Complaint-Center/Complaint-Forms-and-Procedures

Statement on behalf of Verano, parent company of Zen Leaf and CTPharma:

“Leading up to and following the exciting launch of adult use cannabis sales in Connecticut, one of our key priorities at Zen Leaf has been and continues to be maintaining our valued medical patients’ access to medicine while providing patient-specific accommodations that include dedicated parking, checkout stations, private consultation rooms, and ensuring adequate supply of medical-specific products.

We’re proud to continue offering the most expansive variety of high-quality products in Connecticut at stable prices – including our popular CTPharma flower, vapes and edibles – while providing a warm and welcoming environment for visitors of our Zen Leaf dispensaries in Meriden and Waterbury.

Along with ensuring our patients and customers can order products across all categories at our Zen Leaf Meriden and Waterbury dispensaries, we are also proud to continue supplying dispensaries across the state of Connecticut without disruption through our growing wholesale business.

We look forward to continue offering the highest degree of hospitality, product variety and quality, and adequate supply for our Zen Leaf dispensaries and all dispensaries statewide. In keeping with our longstanding reputation of abiding by all state laws and regulations, we will also continue to communicate any regulatory updates as Connecticut’s cannabis program continues to grow and evolve in the future.”

Statement from Curaleaf:

“As we welcome new adult-use customers, we want to assure our medical patients that they will continue to be prioritized and receive the high quality of care they are accustomed to. At Curaleaf Stamford, existing medical patients will have priority access into the dispensary through a separate entrance, experience quicker check-ins with a dedicated staff, and will have a separate line for check-out. In addition, medical patients will continue to have access to Curaleaf’s Compassionate Care Plan, outstanding pharmacy team and patient consult rooms.”

Medical Marijuana patients in the State of Connecticut said they are fired up.

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