Cannabis plants (CTNewsJunkie / photo)
Cannabis plants. (CTNewsJunkie / photo)

Connecticut regulators took a step closer to launching recreational cannabis sales last week with an announcement that three of the state’s four existing medical marijuana producers had met the requirements for hybrid licenses to grow products for the medicinal and recreational markets.

As of Tuesday, medicinal producers Advanced Grow Labs LLC, Connecticut Pharmaceutical Solutions LLC, and Curaleaf LLC had completed the necessary steps for a hybrid license. A fourth medicinal producer, Theraplant, had submitted an application for a license, which was under review by the Department of Consumer Protection, the agency reported in a press release.

The news put Connecticut cannabis growers closer to a threshold built into the state’s 2021 recreational marijuana law, which requires a total of at least 250,000 square feet of approved cultivation and manufacturing space be available before hybrid retailers can begin offering recreational sales. The rule is designed to ensure that adequate cannabis product is available for Connecticut medical marijuana patients. 

Since the adult use law’s passage, state officials had hoped to see the new market launch by late 2022. However, with last week’s announcement, the expected launch date now appears likely to be sometime early next year. 

A spokesperson for the Consumer Protection Department said Friday that either a fourth hybrid retailer or another cultivator would need to come online in order to reach the square footage threshold and the state is required to issue a 30-day notice before retailers can open for business. 

That notice would require action by the state Social Equity Council, which is not scheduled to meet again until December.

In a press release last week, Consumer Protection Commissioner Michelle Seagull praised her agency’s efforts to stand up a new regulated market.

“The Department’s priority is to have a safe, well-regulated marketplace for consumers,” Seagull said. “I am grateful to the Drug Control and Legal teams at DCP who have worked — and continue to work — tirelessly, since the passage of the law, toward a safe and successful market opening.”

In addition to the three hybrid producers, the department announced Tuesday that seven medicinal dispensary facilities had met the requirements to convert to hybrid retailers. Those dispensaries include Affinity in New Haven, Bluepoint Wellness in Branford, C3 Torrington (Still River Wellness), FFD Newington, FFD Stamford, FFD Willimantic, and Willow Brook Wellness in Meriden.