Consumers Spent $5 Million on Recreational Cannabis in First Three Weeks of Market

Patrons move through a line inside Fine Fettle Dispensary in Willimantic Credit: Hugh McQuaid / CTNewsJunkie

Consumers spent around $5.1 million on recreational cannabis during the first three weeks of Connecticut’s adult-use market, according to preliminary statistics released Friday by the state Consumer Protection Department.

Seven hybrid retailers opened their doors to recreational sales on Jan. 10. They were the first of what is expected to be many commercial cannabis retailers authorized by a 2021 law, which legalized cannabis sales in Connecticut. 

Since then, adult-use consumers purchased cannabis at a rate of around $1.5 million per week for the first three weeks. Sales dropped off significantly to around $579,000 during the last week in January. 

Throughout last month, commercial sales were far outpaced by purchases made under the untaxed medical marijuana program, which brought in around $8.1 million over the same three-week period. 

Connecticut has roughly 50,000 patients who participate in the medical marijuana program. It serves patients who are being treated for at least one of the state’s approved qualifying conditions and have been certified by a Connecticut physician, physician assistant or advanced practice registered nurse.

Although that program was enacted under a 2012 law, it is difficult to say what impact the new commercial market had on medical sales. The DCP could not provide earlier sales statistics for comparison because the state had not previously been tracking medical marijuana sales.

At the moment, recreational sales may be somewhat limited by a sales cap of one quarter ounce per transaction. That cap has been imposed by the agency to ensure that Connecticut has enough cannabis product to serve both the recreational and medical markets. Medical patients can buy up to five ounces of the substance per month.

Last month, DCP Commissioner Michelle Seagull described the cap on recreational sales as a temporary measure that would be reevaluated as the new market comes online. On Friday, Kaitlyn Krasselt, a spokesperson for the Department of Consumer Protection, said it was too soon to say when that limit would be amended.

“It’s something that we’re looking at constantly and getting feedback, especially from those in the medical market,” she said. “We will continue to look at it over time and raise it when appropriate.”

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