Adult use cannabis sales in Connecticut are slated to begin late 2022 into early 2023. This is the biggest growth the state has seen in its cannabis program since the introduction of the medical piece of it back in 2012. The cannabis landscape is expected to change drastically in these upcoming years as adult use will grant marijuana access to over 2.5 million CT residents. But what does this mean for the average medical patient? Since a medical card is no longer a barrier to cannabis access, is there any point in having one?

There will be key differences between the process of buying marijuana as a medical patient and buying it as a recreational consumer. The state’s goal is to encourage the growth of the medical side hand-in-hand with its current adult use rollout. Here are some of the benefits of keeping your medical card:

No Taxes for Medical Patients

An official number has not been provided just yet, but there will be taxes on adult use marijuana sales. Below is the proposed tax breakdown:

  • Excise Tax of 0.625 cents per milligram of THC for cannabis flower
  • 0.9 cents per milligram for other product types
  • 2.75 cents per milligram for edibles
  • 6.35% retail sales tax plus 3% municipal sales tax

Consumers can be expected to pay anywhere from a 15-20% tax per product. A $50 purchase for a medical patient can easily become $60 for adult use buyers, and this certainly does add up over time. This tax is likely to fluctuate depending on the dispensary location, but expect >15% across the state.

Access to Higher Potency Products

Connecticut will have a cap on the following adult use products:

  • Flower (bud) will be capped at 30% THC
  • Single-serving edible formulations must have no more than 5 mg THC
  • Additional caps might be added for vape cartridges, concentrates, etc.

The more potent and “medical-grade” products will be reserved for medical patients only. While THC potency doesn’t always speak to the quality of the final product, the higher strength formulations are typically what are most beloved by the medical market. Adult use buyers will not have the same product selection and variety as medical patients.

Protection from Supply Shortages

With the natural boom that is to come from the adult use program in the state, CT has a medical reservation program in place to prioritize medical patients. This potential for supply shortages has been acknowledged by Connecticut’s Department of Consumer Protection and initiatives have been put in place to protect the state’s medical cannabis supply.

What’s the bottom line? CT will prioritize medical patients over adult use customers when there is a shortage. Whether this limits the amount adult use patients can buy or narrowing product selection, ensuring the needs of medical patients are met will always be the number one objective.

Clinical Support from a Pharmacist Team

Connecticut has done a tremendous job implementing pharmacists into the medical program and ensuring patients have access to healthcare professionals. Whether you are a cannabis connoisseur or a brand new consumer, having the guidance and support of a healthcare team is the most sound way of finding the marijuana products best suited for your needs.

Unfortunately, medical advice and pharmacist guidance will be offered to medical patients only. Budtenders can certainly make recommendations on strains and help adult use consumers find the right product. However, when it comes to medication utilization reviews, in-depth consultations, and dosing protocols specific to desired symptom relief, this will remain on the medical side of things.

There are still many unanswered questions and gray areas for what’s to come with the introduction of the adult use market. The number of growers in the state (currently 4: AGL, CTPharma, Curaleaf, Theraplant) is likely to increase, and there will be more than 18 dispensaries. Some will remain medical only, the majority will transition into a hybrid license (both medical and adult use), and more adult use only sites will open across the state. Regardless if you are a medical or adult use consumer, plenty of exciting changes are to come!

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