Recreational Cannabis Sales Continue to Increase in CT

Recreational cannabis has expanded the market in Connecticut, building off the introduction of medical marijuana sales in 2012 and emphasizing equity in business approvals.

Expansion comes with additional benefits for the state’s economy, including jobs related to growing, packaging and selling cannabis products, as well as the administrative, technical and security roles that help these businesses operate.

The Start of Recreational Cannabis Sales in Connecticut

Recreational cannabis was officially legalized in Connecticut in June 2021. To begin sales in January 2023, 13 medical marijuana operations were adapted to accommodate production and retail for this new consumer sector.

In this case, restrictions involved startup fees: $1 million for dispensaries and $3 million for producers, although costs have been lowered for equity applicants and joint operations. There are also potency caps – 30% THC for flowers and 60% for other products.

Products are limited as well, which has impacted the medical market. Specifically, capsules, pills and sublinguals are not available to recreational consumers.

Based on reports, the debut of recreational cannabis did not quite meet customer demands, resulting in retailers adding more staff and equipment, while getting creative with orders. Products were limited on a per-buyer basis and consumers were directed to purchase online.

Yet on a positive note, combined medical and recreational sales have continued to increase since January’s total of $13.3 million. September 2023 cannabis sales reached $25 million.

Results of Legalizing Recreational Cannabis in CT

Recreational cannabis sales are predicted to reach at least $300 million by the end of the year and double within three years’ times. Over the past couple of months, recreational legalization has led to:

  • A surge in retail sales: For medical retailers that converted to a hybrid model, sales have increased anywhere from two to four times.
  • Diverse, consistent customers: Initially, communities held off on approving recreational cannabis retailers due to potential traffic and parking issues. To date, sales have not attracted this degree of attention and reports show that Connecticut has a fairly diverse recreational customer base, with occasional out-of-state buyers.
  • Employment opportunities: As predicted, recreational cannabis sales have expanded job opportunities with growers, who need to meet product demands and retailers, who need workers to process orders and interact with customers.
  • Specific product demands: Despite a comparatively restrictive marketplace, recreational cannabis consumers are gravitating toward edibles like gummies.
  • Concerns for medical marijuana patients: So far, hybrid models have resulted in fewer products and higher prices for medical marijuana patients, who may find they need to travel to multiple dispensaries to find the product or concentration their condition requires. Growers and product developers have started focusing on lesser concentrations for the recreational market and, in turn, a smaller number of products are being produced for recreational and medical groups overall. To better accommodate medical patients, hybrid retailers have placed caps on the number of products and cannabis amount recreational consumers can purchase.

Are you preparing to sell recreational cannabis products in Connecticut or convert your dispensary to meet this growing need? Make sure you’re equipped with sufficient insurance coverage to anticipate risks specific to the cannabis industry. Contact us for a quote today!