Connecticut recreational marijuana sales hit a record high in May, with purchases in the adult-use market exceeding those of medical cannabis for the first time since adult-use retailers opened in January.
The state Department of Consumer Protection (DCP) published the May sales data on Monday, showing about $11.5 million in adult-use marijuana purchases and $11.2 million in medical cannabis for a total of approximately $22.7 million for the month.
May marked the first time that recreational marijuana sales outpaced medical cannabis transactions. Monthly adult-use sales have more than doubled since retailers opened shop.
While the value of recreational sales eclipsed those for medical marijuana, there were more individual items purchased at medical dispensaries (312,758) compared to adult-use retailers (292,054) in the latest monthly figures. The average product price in the medical program was $35.86, versus $39.47 for the recreational market.
“The preliminary data does not include taxes collected at the point of sale on adult-use transactions and is subject to further review by the department,” DCP said. “Medical marijuana patients do not pay taxes on the purchase of their medicine.”
“Adults who choose to consume cannabis are reminded to do so responsibly, including storing cannabis products in their original packaging, locked up and out of reach of children and pets,” the department added.
So far, it appears that Connecticut is experiencing the same type of commercial trends that other states have seen after enacting legalization, with the medical cannabis market gradually thinning as the adult-use system matures and expands.
People also spent about $22 million on marijuana in Connecticut in March, the state reported, but medical cannabis was still the primary driver at that point.
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Meanwhile, Connecticut lawmakers recently sent a budget bill to the governor that includes provisions to provide state-level tax relief to licensed marijuana businesses that are currently prohibited for making federal deductions under an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) code known as 280E.
A separate cannabis omnibus bill was also transmitted to Gov. Ned Lamont (D) last week that contains a number of reforms, including the establishment of off-site event permits for marijuana retailers, restricting intoxicating hemp-derived products and creating a new Office of the Cannabis Ombudsman.
Connecticut’s House of Representatives approved a bill last month to build on the state’s marijuana legalization and expungements law by requiring courts to reduce sentences or dismiss charges for a wider range of cannabis-related convictions and, accordingly, to release people who are currently incarcerated on those charges.
The House also passed a measure last month to bill to decriminalize possession of psilocybin mushrooms.
Neither of those bills were taken up by the Senate prior to the end of the legislative session last week, however.
Separately, Lamont announced in January that the state had cleared nearly 43,000 records for marijuana-related convictions. The legalization legislation that he signed into law in 2021 empowered the state government to facilitate mass cannabis conviction relief.
The state also launched a web portal in January that provides residents with information about the status of their cannabis records and also guides those with older eligible convictions that weren’t automatically erased through the process of petitioning the courts for relief.
Lamont has embraced the state’s adult-use market, which launched at the beginning of the year, saying that he’s optimistic that it will mitigate illicit sales.
He also joked that one of his concerns about the cannabis industry rollout would be finding a place in line at one of the dispensaries. He wasn’t being serious, but the governor previously didn’t rule out the idea of participating in the legal marketplace.
Photo courtesy of WeedPornDaily.