Connecticut retailers, growers at odds on how to serve growing medical cannabis demand
Connecticut’s medical marijuana growers and retailers are at loggerheads over the state’s plan to expand its MMJ program to meet growing consumer demand for products.
The state has proposed adding up to 10 more dispensaries to serve Connecticut’s growing patient pool, an increase that would more than double the number of retailers.
But some dispensary owners are instead calling on the state to add more cultivation licenses, arguing they don’t have access to enough product to meet growing demand.
Dispensary sales this year are projected to reach $50 million-$75 million, up from an estimated $30 million-$35 million in 2017, according to the Marijuana Business Factbook 2018.
Connecticut’s four current growers insist they’re capable of providing adequate supplies, and the state has said no additional cultivators are needed.
Much is at stake. Retailers fear that with additional storefronts the supply strain could worsen unless more growers are added, a situation that could erode their bottom line.
Growers don’t want to see added competition, fearing their own sales would take a hit.
“Everybody’s pretty happy with the way things have grown,” said Laurie Zrenda, dispensary manager at Thames Valley Relief in Uncasville. “Trying to keep up with it now is the challenge.”
State acts to serve growing patient pool
Here’s the background behind the current situation:
Connecticut’s MMJ program has developed at a steady rate since state lawmakers approved medical cannabis sales in 2012. Sales began in 2014, and regulators initially approved six dispensary licenses before increasing the total to the current nine in 2016. The patient count followed suit, shooting up to 26,652 patients registered for the program at the end of June, according to the state.
And here are steps being taken by the state to address burgeoning demand:
To help get medical marijuana to the patients who need it, the Connecticut