Connecticut cannabis sees first monthly sales decline

Connecticut cannabis sees first monthly sales decline

Connecticut has experienced its first decline in cannabis sales since the state legalized recreational marijuana last year.

According to data from the Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection, January sales figures for adult-use cannabis dipped to more than $15.61 million, a decrease from December’s $17.18 million. Recreational marijuana sales similarly fell to more than $9.37 million in January from $10.38 million the previous month.

January’s data reveal a decrease in the total number of cannabis transactions, with sales of adult-use and medical cannabis products dropping to 399,419 and 253,933, respectively, from December’s 435,944 and 291,133.

Cannabis flower continue to dominate the market, constituting 51% of total sales. Vape cartridges and edibles also remain popular among consumers, accounting for 29% and 11% of sales, respectively.

The sales slump piggybacks off of an already-reported shortage in cannabis supply within the state.

Regulators last month said that a “limited variety of certain products,” attributing the scarcity to the natural ebb and flow of supply and demand, exacerbated by a spike in purchases over the holiday season.

Industry analyst firm Cannabis Benchmarks corroborated that assessment, noting a decrease in inventory levels for both adult-use and medical dispensaries, leading to rising prices.

The shortage is partly attributed to the state’s decision to double the purchase limits for cannabis from a quarter-ounce to a half-ounce of flower, or its equivalent in other products, on December 1, 2023. That regulatory adjustment led to a surge in sales, with dispensaries moving 453,944 products in the adult-use market in December alone, a 13.4% increase from the previous month.

Despite the current supply challenges, the agency has remained optimistic.

Industry experts, however, have cautioned that the current bottleneck reflects overall growing pains within the nascent market.

Ben Zachs, Chief Operating Officer of Fine Fettle — a chain with several dispensaries across the state — pointed to the supply constraint as a natural consequence of rapid market expansion.

“More demand and more stores opening has spread the inventory thin,” Zachs told Green Market Report. “Before it was a lack of choice, now some stores have no flower.”

With only a limited number of microprocessors and growers to meet the growing demand, Zachs anticipates a six to eight-month timeframe before the supply chain stabilizes.

“My understanding is there are microgrowers building and big growers building,” he said.

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