Less than two years after Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont signed legislation making it the newest state to authorize retail sales, the first wave of recreational cannabis sales for adults 21 and older began on Tuesday at seven already-existing medicinal marijuana businesses throughout the state. State officials announced at the end of the day that the first seven hours’ worth of sales totaled more than $250,000.
Department of Consumer Protection Commissioner Michelle H. Seagull said in a statement, “We have had no reported difficulties at any of our merchants, and we are happy about the effective opening of the regulated adult-use market.”
There wasn’t the massive crowd of customers witnessed in some states during the early days of legalized marijuana, even though dozens of individuals waited in queues outside certain stores on Tuesday mornings to be the first clients. Customers were advised at some dispensaries to place purchases online and pick them up at a specific time.
Connecticut is anticipated to eventually welcome up to 40 dispensaries and dozens of other cannabis-related businesses by the end of this year. One of the people waiting in line Tuesday morning to buy marijuana at the Fine Fettle Dispensary in Willimantic was Samuel Gabbey, a 32-year-old package delivery operations manager from Mansfield.
He claimed that he had been waiting years for legalization in Connecticut and that he thought it was preferable for individuals to purchase marijuana from a reputable store with a regulated product as opposed to doing so from complete strangers. It has finally come to a point where everyone can simply come here, get what they want, and leave without having to worry about the cops or anything else, he said.
So, for those in Connecticut, it is a fantastic day. The state’s legalization statute also permits convictions for low-level marijuana crimes to be wiped, frequently automatically, Lamont, a Democrat, pointed out, in addition to producing a regulated, safer product. Since the beginning of the year, about 44,000 such convictions have been overturned, according to officials.
Ned Lamont stated in a statement that “today represents a turning point in the injustices inflicted by the war on drugs, most notably now that there is a legal alternative to the risky, unregulated, clandestine market for cannabis sales.” Tuesday at 10 a.m. was the start time for recreational sales. The public was anticipated to be able to enter state-approved stores on the first day in Branford, Meriden, Montville, New Haven, Newington, Stamford, and Willimantic.
It’s anticipated that two additional authorized dispensaries will soon start operating in Torrington and Danbury. A ribbon-cutting ceremony at The Botanist dispensary in Montville was attended by the mayor and state legislators from the area. Customers received complimentary T-shirts and coffee cups, as well as one-on-one assistance with choosing their options.
The first recreational marijuana consumer at The Botanist was 60-year-old Norwich resident Lynn Goldstein. She was pleased that she was first in line even though she hadn’t intended for reporters to record her roughly $106 buy. A $250 vaporizer was among the gifts handed to Goldstein. According to Goldstein, who uses medical marijuana, she has experienced severe pain since 2011.
Cannabis, she claims, can be a huge assistance to her and other people with health concerns, even though it doesn’t completely alleviate their suffering. “I just love being a little pain-free,” said Goldstein. “It makes me comfortable and occasionally asleep.” She was wary of legalizing, though. She stated, “I do worry about the young people because they don’t know how to manage it and they’ll be driving high, and it’ll be very difficult for cops to figure out what’s what.”
Over the past ten years, even though it is still prohibited by federal law, twenty-one states have legalized marijuana use for adult recreational purposes. Marijuana supporters have continued with similar initiatives across the country, including in Ohio and Oklahoma since voters in Maryland and Missouri supported legalization in November.
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 37 states, three territories, and the District of Columbia will permit the medical use of cannabis products by February 3, 2022. Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and New York, Connecticut’s three neighbors, are also on the list. The Montville store sees 200 to 300 medical marijuana consumers every day, according to Kate Nelson, senior vice president of the Midwest and Northwest regions for Acreage Holdings, which owns The Botanist brand.
Although she conceded that sales will probably level out, she anticipated a 150% increase in the first week of recreational sales. Following the completion of municipal clearances, the company’s second facility in Connecticut, which is situated in Danbury, is anticipated to open within the next few weeks. Even before the 40 operators start working, Nelson predicted, “you’ll start to see less of the enthusiasm of something new and more of what kind of the status quo will become.”
“We are now located in a region of the nation where other adult-use states are close by. Thus, in the state of Connecticut especially, it will be a major emphasis of ours to ensure that the adult-use program has the product it requires and that we can support the sector in order to ensure that Connecticut stands out from other competitive markets.
To guarantee that there is a sufficient supply for medicinal marijuana users, the initial sales in Connecticut will be restricted to one-quarter of an ounce (7 grams) of cannabis flower or its equivalent. The one-quarter ounce can be obtained by combining various components. Retail sales and production inputs will be constantly monitored by the state’s Department of Consumer Protection to decide when that amount can eventually be increased.
Customers will also be required to pay a state tax based on the THC content, which ranges from 10% to 15% of the sale price, in addition to the state’s current 6.35% sales tax, a 3% sales tax that supports the host town, and the purchase price. This article was written by Associated Press writer Dave Collins in Hartford, Connecticut. The author of the Montville store speech was Lynn Goldstein, not Laura Bass-Wright, as previously reported.