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Cannabis in Connecticut: Concerns of a California Transplant | Cannabis Business Executive – Cannabis and Marijuana industry news

I just moved my family to Connecticut from Los Angeles, where I have lived almost exclusively since 1979. I am a born-and-raised New Yorker and spent a lot of time in Connecticut as a kid and young man, so I’m returning to old haunts, and I have relatives throughout New England and am looking forward…
The post Cannabis in Connecticut: Concerns of a California Transplant appeared first on Cannabis Business Executive – Cannabis and Marijuana industry news.

I just moved my family to Connecticut from Los Angeles, where I have lived almost exclusively since 1979. I am a born-and-raised New Yorker and spent a lot of time in Connecticut as a kid and young man, so I’m returning to old haunts, and I have relatives throughout New England and am looking forward to the close proximity the area affords. But as a cannabis patient and consumer who has grown used to the breadth and quality of flower easily available to me in Southern California, I have to admit that less than a week after arriving in the new location – which is just outside Hartford – I am noticing a slight feeling of panic in the rear left area of my hippocampus. What in God’s name was I thinking? I moved from the comfort of California to the cold shoulder of Connecticut, and there is no going back. The feeling inside me is not just a portend of difficulties to come, but a culture-shock I had not properly calculated and am not particularly well-prepared to deal with. If I dabbled, it would be different, but I am more properly a member of the old-school wake-n-bake camp, though it’s more bake-n-sleep these days. Trauma of the head-on car accident kind and a few other similar mishaps have left me mostly whole if sleepless without a little bit of help, but the truth is I would consume anyway. I always have, and I’m old.

As an experienced consumer, the difference between California and Connecticut appears to be substantial on every level, from cultural acceptance to legal market development to regulatory logistics to retail accessibility and offerings. California of course has years of adult use under its belt, especially in Los Angeles, where dispensaries are close, and it is easy to create and maintain a close relationship with shops you like, and still price-shop. I am by the way the only person I know who actually purchases cannabis from dispensaries. That is not an exaggeration. Everyone I know is either a grower or breeder or runs in those groups or in some way skirts all retail experiences. Retail is in fact anathema to them. They are the same people who only smoke their own flower, which but for the fact I cannot emulate that glorious skill I have no problem.

But I am the quintessential cannabis consumer. I willingly spend money on a very consumable product that once consumed is usually replaced in short order. I am better than a soccer mom because I have years of experience under my belt and a keen sense of what I like, but it may be a drawback these days to be a knowledgeable consumer rather than a more pliable new one? I don’t know, but I do know I’m not going anywhere and where I am now is Connecticut. As I’ve done throughout my life, I’ll find a way to meet my medicinal and other needs, but if I think about it, it does irk me that I moved to a regressive state in the sense that Connecticut is not and never will be cannabis heaven, and I kind of resent the fact that I need to be reassessed medically when I only just reupped in LA, which I did annually for some reason.

I do not need to go medical here. I can get to an adult-use dispensary across the Massachusetts border in less time than it took me to drive across the San Fernando Valley to a shop I liked to visit. But I’ve also scrutinized the menus of a bunch of medical-only dispensaries close to where I live as well as the adult use shops within a reasonable distance, and to be honest, the medical flower piques my interest a little more than te adult use flower does. I have not put my nose to any of it yet so it’s all conjecture based on next to nothing, but at least there will be a process of discovery for me in Connecticut that will commence this week. I am looking forward to it even as I mitigate my expectations.

But a small neighbor to the north offers yet another vision of quality cannabis, this one based on craft. It turns out Vermont is serious about small cannabis farms, and outdoor ones to boot. The largest grow in the state consists of 1,200 plants, according to a story by local CBS affiliate, WCAX.

“The operation is one of about 150 that are creating the supply for the recreational market this fall,” reported the station. “It’s estimated Vermont needs about 500,000 square feet of cannabis canopy to meet demand. Most of the state’s licensed grow operations are outdoors.”

That last fact surprised me in a very good way. “Vermont is aiming to mirror the craft beer industry — grown, processed, tested, and sold in-state,” the story continued. “All of this weed will make it to the shelves. Right now, there are some 60 retailers in the pipeline as Vermont’s budding industry begins to grow.” If more than a few canna-curious consumers make the, in my case, short trek north to check out Vermont’s goods, as I fully expect to do as soon as I am able, the state may need to up its canopy requirement to meet demand. Just the idea of a state wanting to be known as a haven for craft cannabis is interesting and something one may wish to support.

But now I live in Connecticut, a beautiful state, and I am not ruling it out as a source of quality cannabis. I know it is home to very fine growers, and I look forward to engaging (and covering) the state’s market as it develops, as well as the entire northeast. I will apply to become a medical patient (and wait a month for approval!) as the adult-use market approved last year continues its slow crawl into existence, and while it is impossible for me to envision Connecticut ever having the genetic diversity and creative chops that are synonymous with California, it doesn’t really matter in the scheme of things. Connecticut is a small state likely to become just another battleground for corporations looking to dominate it, and with New York dwarfing it on one side and Massachusetts courting in on the other, its size and prevents it from ever being a power player.

Small states can wield a large influence if they approach cannabis with open minds and humility, however, and as long as cannabis people are in the vicinity they will endeavor to create small slices of cannabis heaven on earth. That’s what cannabis people do, but it also underscores the extent to which patients and consumers are on their own navigating the markets no matter where they live. I may want and in some ways expect someone anyone in my new state to reach out to me for my attention and my business before I spend money with them, which they do for every other thing I search for in the universe. But that’s not how it works with cannabis. The curation this industry would profit so handsomely from seems unreachable at times, but I’m feeling that way because I just moved from a cannabis bazaar to a cannabis desert. What in God’s name was I thinking? Connecticut is not really a cannabis desert, of course, and neither is Maine or Rhode Island or New Jersey. They all have long, rich histories with the plant. As a recent transplant, I cannot help but think that the ones that incorporate that history into their legal framework will have much easier time of it, and so will we.

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