Limited recreational cannabis sales to start Jan. 10

Nine stores will be the first to launch, including locations in Torrington, Danbury and Stamford. All of these stores are currently medical dispensaries.

John Craven

Dec 9, 2022, 1:30 PM

Updated 563 days ago

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Recreational marijuana sales will begin in Connecticut on Jan. 10, 2023 – but with limits. Only a handful of dispensaries will launch initially, and there are limits on how much cannabis customers can buy at one time.
On Friday, state regulators announced that nine existing medical dispensaries can add recreational sales.
One of them is Fine Fettle Dispensary in Stamford. You can't just walk in, though. To avoid long lines, customers will have to pre-order online, and make an appointment to pick up their cannabis products.
"We will be asking people, hopefully, to commit to a pre-order online, to help expedite the process, to help mitigate any traffic, parking, congestion sort of issues," said Ben Zachs, Fine Fettle's chief operating officer. "We'll have two separate and distinct lines for our medical patients, as well as our adult-use customers."
Fine Fettle will also sell recreational marijuana at locations in Newington and Willimantic.
The other six dispensaries are:
- Affinity (New Haven)
- The Botanist (Danbury and Montville)
- Still River Wellness (Torrington)
- Willow Brook Wellness (Meriden)
- Bluepoint Wellness (Branford)
The Connecticut of Consumer Protection said more retailers, as well as delivery services and cultivators, should open by mid-2023. DCP commissioner Michelle Seagull said 42 businesses already have provisional licenses.
"Importantly, this is just a start. More retailers will be opening up over time, as they build out their businesses and get approval from us," said Seagull. "There's going to be a lot more businesses opening up over the course of 2023. So there's nearly 100 additional businesses that are somewhere in our licensing pipeline."
Connecticut approved recreational marijuana last year. Although possession became legal immediately, regulators have spent the past 18 months crafting a regulatory framework and processing licenses for retail sales. In most business categories, half of all licenses are reserved for "social equity applicants" disproportionately impacted by the war on drugs. But critics say excessive licensing fees have allowed wealthy out-of-state backers to dominate the process.
As part of the cannabis law, approximately 44,000 marijuana possession convictions will be erased in January.
The last hurdle for recreational sales was cleared on Tuesday, when the state met the required threshold of 250,000 square feet of growing capacity. But regulators are still concerned about having enough supply to meet demand, so sales will be limited at first. Customers can only buy ¼ ounce of cannabis per transaction. That equals up to 14 pre-rolled cigarettes or up to 4 vape cartridges. As for edibles, those vary by type and size.
Seagull said the state will not track customers' sales, so customers who want to buy more can simply drive to another dispensary the same day.
Some customers are eager to shop.
"I feel like everybody smokes anyways. About time they make it legal," said Abraham, of Stamford.
But others say any marijuana sales are too much.
"That is really bad for the city because I think people [who] get high will drive – more accidents," said Jose Arevalo, of Stamford.
Fine Fettle's Zachs noted that retail cannabis is far more regulated than alcohol sales, and pointed to successes in neighboring Massachusetts.
"Property values don't go down, crime actually goes down near and around dispensaries. These are incredibly safe facilities," he said. "The idea of 'Not In My Backyard' – not near me – is real. And so much of what is important about cannabis is about changing the stigma."
That stigma is going to make it harder to find dispensaries like this. About third of Connecticut's cities and towns have either banned or postponed retail cannabis sales.


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