Connecticut recreational cannabis sales begin today

Recreational dispensaries are preparing for a green rush on the first day of adult-use cannabis sales.
Published: Jan. 9, 2023 at 6:49 AM EST|Updated: Jan. 10, 2023 at 5:21 AM EST
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NEW HAVEN, CT (WFSB) - Today, Connecticut joins 20 states that allow adults to use cannabis recreationally.

Retail sales of pot will begin this morning at 9 dispensaries across the state.

When doors open for business, it will be the culmination of months of preparation to ensure people consume cannabis safely.

In New Haven, Mayor Justin Elicker scheduled a news conference for Monday to provide an update on sales expectations.

Tuesday, people aged 21 and older will be able to buy up to a fourth of an ounce.

The sale of cannabis a complicated process. It’s not as simple as flipping an “open for business” sign at a dispensary.

New Haven has one of the nine approved cannabis retailers in the state, Affinity Health & Wellness.

Monday, Elicker went over responsible consumption and the legalities of who can buy pot.

He also spoke about what the security measures taken to keep Whalley Avenue, the area around the dispensary, safe.

“We want to make sure people are armed with information about the law and are very responsible in their possession and usage,” said Elicker.

At Affinity Health & Wellness, the owner said they’ll have a limited menu Tuesday, eventually offering flower, pre-rolled, vape and edible options.

There’s a security plan that the dispensary will implement as its doors open.

Those looking to buy up to a quarter of an ounce will need to show a government issued ID photo at two security check points.

“You have to show a government issued picture ID with your photo to show you are 21 or older,” explained Ray Pantalena, Affinity Health & Wellness. “Once you show that ID, you can enter the facility proper.”

They expect people to start lining up before sales start at 10 a.m.

“We’re encouraging everyone to place their pre-orders online, can start placing their orders 6 p.m. tonight so when they get there, they can come in, make their purchase and leave in a timely fashion,” said Pantalena.

Since its 21 and over, the city’s health department said it’s education efforts will be on going to make sure people know they need to be responsible, specifically asking people to follow the three “Ls”.

The city along with the dispensary’s owner said that starts with the three “Ls”: Limiting your consumption, Locking up your cannabis, and Labeling it so it doesn’t get into the wrong hands, specifically children.

“Lock it, making sure individuals secure your product in place and it’s out of reach of loved ones and children. Label it. Mark your product so loved ones and children know that its cannabis and it can cause a reaction without the proper measures and limit it, limit the amount of cannabis products you keep in the home to avoid overeating or over consumption,” said Maritza Bond, with the New Haven Health Department.

“We love it. We absolutely love it. Great opportunity for people in New Haven to get weed,” said Owen Mickey of New Haven.

For Owen and his college buddies, they see the new state law going into effect Tuesday morning as a plus.

Connecticut is joining 20 other states plus Washington D.C. legalizing cannabis for those 21 and older.

“Obviously use responsibly, we don’t want people driving under the influence,” said Owen.

As for the law, there are plenty of rules to keep you and others safe, especially driving under the influence.

Jacobson added when it comes to smoking, it’s just like the tobacco laws. You can’t use it in city buildings, parks or restaurants.

Jacobson said after you buy it, you can’t return to your car and open it right up.

“It’s also illegal for both passengers and drivers to use cannabis while the vehicle is operating, so we need to be safe, we need to bring it home, we need to smoke it in a safe place,” Jacobson said.

“We’ve already seen three or four incidents in the last year or so in New Haven public schools, students getting access to cannabis, bringing it to school, sharing it with friends and people getting really sick,” said Elicker.

With more access, adults need to know what can happen if they don’t follow the law.

“It’s illegal for adults to provide cannabis to minors and the potential criminal consequences is risk of injury which is a felony. We have seen charges like that where it wasn’t locked up and it was accessible to people underage,” said Jacobson.

Here are the nine dispensaries that have been approved so far:

Here's a list of the nine approved marijuana dispensaries in Connecticut.
Here's a list of the nine approved marijuana dispensaries in Connecticut.(
Recreational marijuana sales begin Tuesday
Statewide cannabis sales start on Tuesday.
Cannabis sales begin statewide on Tuesday and cities are preparing for a rush of new business.