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On the fourth day of cannabis retail to adults without a prescription, sales hit $1 million Friday afternoon – a benchmark that leaves open the question of how well the new market is doing.

After the first day of sales at seven locations Tuesday, the state Department of Consumer Protection reported total sales of $359,000.  Most of the businesses had lines at the 10 a.m. opening. The lines abated by noon and sales remained steady all day as stores moved customers in and out quickly, in the observations of me and my colleagues at CTInsider.

The $1 million threshold at 2:30 p.m. Friday means the 3.5 days since the Tuesday opening of adult-use ganja sales have averaged $286,000 per day, or $41,000 per day for each store.  Retailers saw a falloff but not a significant decline as the week unfolded.

The totals are for adult-use cannabis sales only — not the medical market, which is active at all seven of the adult-use stores. 

How do these early numbers stack up? The Connecticut stores far outsold the Dec. 1 launch in Rhode Island, with $786,000 in the first seven days in five stores, according to WPRI-TV Channel 12 in Providence. That’s an average of  $22,500 in non-medical sales per store per day. 

The Connecticut totals fell far below the sales Massachusetts retailers realized when they opened adult-use retail in two locations on Nov. 20, 2108 — also a Tuesday. Those two stores saw an average of $222,000 per day per store for the first five days of operations. 

That’s an unfair comparison because Massachusetts was the first state in the East to open for adult-use and had a huge excitement factor – attracting thousands of customers from Connecticut, Rode Island and other surrounding states. Also the opening to the north came in the teeth of the holiday season, compared with the January lull. 

Today we have retail, non-medical sales at 225 locations in Massachusetts, plus the sales in Rhode Island, plus New Jersey. New York doesn’t officially have retail sales yet, but weed is about as hard to find in the city as maple trees in the forest, with trucks selling the product on street corners. 

Another factor: Connecticut has a very robust medical marijuana program with 50,000 patients who hold prescriptions. And, as my colleagues Jordan Fenster and Julia Bergman reported Friday, prices at the Connecticut locations appear to be higher than in surrounding states.

“We are proud to have overseen a smooth and successful launch of the adult-use cannabis market that provided a positive consumer experience, was not disruptive to our communities or to the existing medical market, and ultimately resulted in robust and consistent initial sales,” Department of Consumer Protection Commissioner Michelle H. Seagull said in a written statement. 

The Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission issued a breakdown by total number of sales and average spending per transaction – information the Connecticut regulators at DCP are expected to produce in the next several days.  Connecticut regulators are also expected to issue sales totals for medical cannabis, spokeswoman Kaitlyn Krasselt said. 

Ultimately, success for this state’s cannabis sales program is not based on hitting high revenue and profit totals.  More ganja sales helps the business owners, of course, but it may or may not be a good sign for the state.  What we want to see is a fair and equitable market that helps undo the wrongs of the long, failed drug war.

 Whether we’ll see true social equity ownership of thriving businesses in five years remains to be seen. 

“We expect this marketplace will continue to grow, provide new jobs, drive reinvestment in the communities most harmed by cannabis prohibition, and continue to create economic opportunity for our state,” Seagull said.

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