Cannabis retailers in Connecticut say a shortage of licensed growers in the state's fledgling legal pot industry has left them with a shortage of products to sell. The supply problem appeared after slow retail growth in neighboring New York last year, leaving growers there struggling with the opposite: an excess of supply.
It would seem both problems could easily be solved by shipping products a few miles over state lines. But that would violate federal drug laws. So, each state that legalizes cannabis is left with its own process for licensing growers and sellers and trying to create a balance between the two within state borders.
Benjamin Zachs, the chief operating officer of Fine Fettle, which operates five dispensaries in Connecticut, said he worries that low supply in stores is leading some customers back to their former illegal dealers and across state lines where they cannot go to get products. When recreational sales became legal in Connecticut in January 2023, he said, there were seven dispensaries and four producers in the state.
"Now we're a year later, and there are 26 open dispensaries and only one more producer, grower, cultivator," Zachs said. "And that's a micro-cultivator, so that's only about 5,000 square feet of additional canopy." The Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection, which regulates the industry, said it appears there is a temporary problem as new licenses for growers make their way through the pipeline. Eleven cultivators and five micro cultivators, who grow in smaller spaces, have received a provisional license and are moving toward final licensure, the department said.
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