New Legalization Laws, Marijuana Sales Records And The Other Top State Developments Of 2023

Connecticut Recreational Marijuana Sales Reach Record High Of $13 Million In July

Connecticut adult-use marijuana sales reached another record high for the seventh month in a row in July, state data shows.

The state Department of Consumer Protection (DCP) released the latest sales totals on Thursday, showing $13 million in recreational cannabis purchases last month. That’s about $500,000 more than the prior month and nearly three times as much as the state saw during the opening month in January.

Medical marijuana sales amounted to $10.6 million for July, for a combined total of $23.6 million. That’s slightly down compared to the combined $23.8 million record for marijuana sales that was set in June.

Since adult-use sales began in January, Connecticut cannabis purchases have collectively totaled about $146 million.

July also marked the third month in a row where adult-use sales exceeded medical marijuana purchases. People purchased 324,177 products recreational cannabis products during the month, compared to 279,240 medical marijuana products.

The department also released data showing the types of marijuana items that consumers are buying, with 52 percent of sales coming from cannabis flower, 31 percent from vape products and 11 percent from edibles.

“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.

Meanwhile, as of July 1, Connecticut adults 21 and older are now able to grow their own marijuana plants for personal use—one of the latest provisions of the state’s cannabis legalization law to take effect.

Ahead of that law becoming effective, DCP published a notice to remind the public about the policy change, detailing the rules and encouraging people who choose to participate to cultivate cannabis “responsibly.”

Connecticut is far from the only states that saw record-breaking marijuana sales in recent months.

Three other Northeastern states—Maine, Massachusetts and Rhode Island—also each hit new records for cannabis purchases in July.

Outside of the region, Illinois retailers sold $140 million worth of recreational marijuana products in July—the strongest sales of the year and second highest monthly total for the state since the adult-use market launched in 2020.

Maryland legal cannabis sales also hit a high of $87.4 million in July, the first month since the recreational market launched, state data shows. In the first weekend of adult-use sales alone, the state yielded over $10 million in combined medical and recreational purchases.

Missouri has been selling about $4 million worth of marijuana per day on average since the state’s adult-use market opened up in February—and the state saw a record $121.2 million in cannabis purchases in June.

Michigan marijuana sales reached a record of nearly $261 million in June, state data shows.


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Back in Connecticut, Gov. Ned Lamont (D) recently signed a budget bill 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 signed by the governor in June 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 in May 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 in May 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, 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.

Connecticut prosecutors announced in April that they have dismissed more than 1,500 pending marijuana cases, while modifying about 600 others, following a review as part of the state’s post-legalization criminal erasure program.

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