March 2023 Regional Cannabis News: New York and Connecticut Markets Continue to Expand

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March has been a busy month for the Northeast cannabis industry. Significant progress has been made in both New York and Connecticut, as each state continues to establish and grow adult use retail markets. Check out what you need to know about the exciting growth of the cannabis industry throughout the tri-state area in this roundup of the latest regional headlines.

New York doubles the number of adult-use dispensary licenses

The New York Cannabis Control Board and the Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) are doubling the number of retail adult-use licenses available in the state from 150 to 300, according to a recent announcement from Gov. Kathy Hochul’s office. As of March 2023, the office has received about 900 applications and issued 66 provisional licenses since adult use cannabis was legalized in 2021. 

Under this newly-authorized expansion, licenses will:

  1. Increase proportionally in each region of the state
  2. Be awarded from the existing pool of qualifying business applicants

The expansion of the licensing system will also allow for the growth of the state’s Seeding Opportunity Initiative, which enables license prioritization for individuals impacted by the prohibition of cannabis and nonprofits aimed to support formerly incarcerated individuals. 

“With this expansion, more entrepreneurs will be able to participate in the first wave of this industry, allowing them to capitalize on the growing demand for cannabis products,” said Tremaine Wright, chair of the Cannabis Control Board, in a press release. “As more businesses enter this market, the innovation and competition will increase, leading to better quality experiences for consumers. The expansion of New York’s cannabis market will benefit everyone involved in this exciting industry.”

First adult-use dispensary opens in upstate NY

The first Conditional Adult Use Retail Dispensary (CAURD) licensed dispensary opened for sales in the Finger Lakes region of New York, according to an announcement from Gov. Hochul’s office. Owned and operated by Brooklyn native William Durham, the William Jane dispensary is the first in Ithaca, a small city in upstate New York known for its arts and culture scene. 

“With the opening of William Jane in Ithaca, we’re continuing to build an adult-use cannabis industry in our state that works to offset the harms caused by disproportionate arrests made during cannabis prohibition,” Governor Hochul said. “As more dispensaries like this open across New York State, consumers now have the option to buy legal, safer products while also reinvesting in their communities.”

The new dispensary marks a significant milestone for New York’s cannabis industry, as it is the first license upstate to be supported by New York’s Social Equity Cannabis Investment Fund, which provides licenses to open on a short-term basis to start generating capital. The store will operate as a pop-up for the first 30 days. After that, it will close for final construction and then  re-open for the long term. 

Connecticut sales continue to rise

The combined sales total of adult use and medical cannabis in Connecticut reached a combined total of more than $18 million in February 2023, which was the first full calendar month of sales since the launch of adult-use sales in the state earlier this year. According to data released by the State Department of Consumer Protection, adult use cannabis sales hit $7.02 million in February, while medical cannabis sales amounted to $11.4 million. The data does not include taxes collected at the point of sale on transactions. 

The department also made available new data related to adult use cannabis and medical marijuana sales, showing the total number of products sold in each market, as well as the average price per product in each market. In February, medical cannabis patients purchased 316,644 products, and adult use consumers purchased 168,565. The average product price for medical cannabis patients was $36.11 in February, while the average cost of adult-use products was $41.82.

The data released by the State Department of Consumer Protection provides a promising glimpse into the future of Connecticut’s cannabis industry. As the state continues to expand its regulatory framework and more businesses enter the market, it’s likely that sales and revenue will continue to grow. 

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