Connecticut Medical Cannabis Sales: Start Of Decline?

By Gillian Jalimnson for HempGazette

Recreational marijuana sales edged up in Connecticut again last month, but medical cannabis sales saw the first drop this year – perhaps a sign of things to come.

Connecticut was the 19th state to legalize recreational marijuana back in July 2021. However, retail sales didn’t commence in the state until January 10 this year. Connecticut residents were quick to take advantage of the new access, spending a little over USD $5.1 million in January, $7.024 million in February, $9.56 million in March and $10.2 million in April.

Connecticut was the USA’s 17th medical cannabis state with the signing of HB 5389 of 2012. According to Americans for Safe Access, dispensaries began offering medicine to registered patients in September 2014, with six dispensaries opening throughout the state. The number of dispensaries and qualifying conditions have grown since.

According to state government statistics, medical cannabis sales in Connecticut for this year:

  • January 2023: $8.07 million
  • February 2023: $11.44 million
  • March 2023: $12.58 million
  • April 2023: $11.43 million

… so, a drop of around $1.15 million between March and April. This isn’t a case of pricing reduction as the number of units sold in April was also lower in April (314,985) than in March (339,062).

April’s performance could be the harbinger for continued decline if other states where recreational marijuana has been legalised are anything to go by. It’s not unusual for medical cannabis patients to partially or fully switch to sourcing cannabis from the retail market. Sometimes this is through choice, at other times due to an inability to access their usual medicines as manufacturers increase focus on the recreational market.

While medical cannabis prices in Connecticut have remained stable in the year to date, adult use prices on average have dropped substantially. But it’s difficult to do an apples-to-apples comparison given the nature of the products involved.

Connecticut patients pay a 6.35% sales tax on every purchase of medical marijuana. For retail cannabis sales, there’s the sales tax, a 3% municipal tax, and a 10-15% state cannabis tax based on THC content.

You can learn more about Connecticut’s adult-use and medical cannabis programs here.