CT Pharma cannabis plant. Credit: Christine Stuart photo

Registered medical marijuana patients in Connecticut should stock up on cannabis ahead of the launch of the state’s recreational adult-use market on Tuesday, the Department of Consumer Protection advised last week. 

The long-awaited start of Connecticut’s commercial cannabis market begins Tuesday morning at 10, when adults at least 21-years-old can purchase up to a quarter ounce per transaction at nine hybrid retailers around the state.

While those transaction limitations are meant to ensure an adequate supply of cannabis for both the commercial and medicinal markets, the DCP encouraged the state’s roughly 50,000 medicinal patients to restock before the launch to avoid an expected rush. 

“While we hope there will be no disruption or inconvenience to patients, it is always best to be prepared,” Commissioner Michelle H. Seagull said in a press release. “Patients who can make purchases ahead of time, or have their medicine delivered, are advised to do so. Although many of the hybrid retailers will provide separate checkout counters or cash registers for Medical Marijuana Program patients, they may still experience increased traffic, as well as crowds in and around the hybrid retailers in the opening days of the market.”

Medical marijuana patients are not subject to the quarter-ounce limit or taxes applied to commercial transactions. Rather they are permitted to buy up to five ounces per month, according to the DCP. Beginning in July, participants in the medicinal program will no longer be subject to a $100 registration fee. 

Connecticut lawmakers legalized recreational cannabis through a law passed in 2021, which also set in motion the commercial market beginning this week. While state officials expect more cannabis businesses to come online in the coming year, the nine retailers opening to the public Tuesday are hybrid operations, which had previously been serving the medicinal market. 

They include Affinity in New Haven, Bluepoint Wellness in Branford, Still River Wellness in Torrington, Fine Fettle Dispensary locations in Newington, Stamford, and Willimantic, The Botanist locations in Danbury and Montville, as well as Willow Brook Wellness in Meriden.

Last month, Seagull said the initial quarter ounce per transaction limit would be reviewed as more cannabis businesses come online. Seagull said the agency needed time to assess the demand for the product and how it stacked up against the supply capabilities of the state’s cannabis producers.

“We’re going to continue evaluating how things play out as the market opens,” she said. “It’s really hard to know what the demand may look like on those first days.”

Connecticut adopted its medical marijuana program in 2012. It serves patients who are being treated for at least one of the state’s approved qualifying conditions and have been certified by a Connecticut physician, physician assistant or advanced practice registered nurse