Connecticut marijuana dispensaries open today
NEWINGTON, CT (WFSB) - Connecticut on Tuesday joined 20 states in allowing the use of recreational cannabis.
Retails sales of pot started Tuesday morning at seven dispensaries across the state, including ZenLeaf Meriden, formerly Willow Brook Wellness, and Fine Fettle Dispensary in Newington.
The Department of Consumer Protection announced the state recorded $251,276 in marijuana sales as of 5 p.m. Tuesday.
Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz participated in a news conference with other state and local officials at 9 a.m. in Meriden.
They said products were officially for sale at ZenLeaf at 10 a.m. on Tuesday.
People aged 21 and older can buy up to a quarter of an ounce of pot. They just have to show a government ID.
Darren Bell of Bridgeport was the first in line in Meriden. He told Channel 3 that he was in line to buy some marijuana for his birthday.
Businesses said they were ready for heavy customer traffic.
“So, lets use New Jersey for instance that was a market that turned on in April last year, we saw retail sales go up five times in the third quarter of last year,” said Aaron Miles, Verano. “So, it’s yet to be determined but naturally we assume there will be a big uptick in volume.”
Recreational marijuana will be taxed at 20 percent, according to state officials. That’s similar to what Massachusetts does. It’s also cheaper than New York.
Bysiewicz said that more than 100 facilities will be opening their doors within the next year or so.
“They are testing it out little by little as you can see. It was Colorado then New York, Mass. and it’s just going to go everywhere,” said Bernardo Rodriguez of Meriden.
Bernardo wanted to be in on the action and part of history. Connecticut has joined about 20 states that sell legal weed for adults.
When the doors opened at 10 a.m. at Fine Fettle in Newington, it was the culmination of months of preparation to ensure people safely use cannabis.
When it comes to job growth, Fine Fettle’s owner told Channel 3 that 100 staff have been brought in across three locations.
The owner said he expected some changes for medical marijuana patients with the rush of adult use customers; however, he said his business was prepared.
“It’s going to be busier and it’s going to be different for sure, but we have a medical-only menu with a medical patient discount, we have medical-only registers with medical-only lines, and it’s the same people who our patients who have built us into the business that we are today,” said Benjamin Zachs, COO of Fine Fettle.
Fine Fettle asked that people put in pre-orders to help cut down on time spent in line.
Affinity in New Haven also opened for recreational marijuana.
Some have been buying it in Massachusetts. Now it’s more convenient.
“It gives people different varieties, things they want, edibles, wax and flower,” said Kevin O’Leary of New Haven.
“We have been planning for this for three months for this roll out. The city has been great working with us, the police department has been great, DCP has been great, it went very smooth,” said Ray Pantalena with Affinity Health & Wellness.
Adult use weed is expected to create 10,000 jobs and generate $26 million in revenue this year and $44 million next year.
“People spike things so much, this is a way, a little more expensive but it’s safer,” said Victoria DeJesus of Willimantic.
Connecticut’s program is somewhat unique. It gives minorities opportunities. There are 77 social equity applicants, plus some of the revenue will go to communities hard hit by crime and drugs.
It also said it increased register space to help get people through faster.
Monday, the City of New Haven outlined its sales and safety plans.
Two dispensaries, Danbury and Torrington, did not open on Tuesday. Officials said they’ll open at a later date.
The nine approved dispensaries in Connecticut included:
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