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Sound Bites: Businesses say Connecticut could be selling more pot

The Botanist Cannabis Dispensary in Montville, Connecticut.
Brian Scott-Smith
The Botanist Cannabis Dispensary in Montville, Connecticut.

Good morning! Monday marks three months since Connecticut rolled out its first legal sale of adult-use cannabis.

So far, only the state’s medical marijuana dispensaries are selling recreational use cannabis under new hybrid licenses, but more license-holding businesses will begin selling to the adult market later this year. 

According to the state Department of Consumer Protection, March saw $9.5 million in retail pot sales — an increase from February, which was the first full month of sales, garnering $7 million. 

Ben Tinsley, vice president of operations for Acreage Holdings, which runs The Botanist, said while his cannabis business is doing well here, he’s seen other states do much better. More than 40% of municipalities have either instituted a complete ban or have moratoriums in place. 

“I thought we would have seen a larger outpouring day one and really even greater momentum where we are today,” Tinsley said. “So, I was taken aback that it wasn’t greater.” 

Here’s a bite-sized look at what else we are hearing:

A bipartisan proposal would make September 11th a national holiday. The bill is co-sponsored by Rep. Anthony D’Esposito (R-NY), of Long Island. Juneteenth was the last federal holiday approved by Congress.

Congress could use the “power of the purse” to favor Sikorski’s Black Hawk helicopter, U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) said. He wants to force the Pentagon to reverse its decision to award Bell Aviation a contract to produce the V-280 Valor helicopter. Blumenthal said there is precedent if Congress finds there is better value in the Black Hawk.

An emergency energy assistance program in Connecticut will accept new applications, after working through a backlog of applicants. Operation Fuel had stopped accepting applications in February. Another pause might be coming soon due to an increase in demand.

The Town of Riverhead has passed  “zero-tolerance” rules in an effort to make the downtown family friendly. There will be increased penalties for loitering, sleeping on the sidewalk and rummaging through garbage cans. It also prevents unwanted businesses, such as smoke shops and tattoo parlors, from being approved in the business district.

Connecticut has started deploying speed cameras. The state Department of Transportation set them up at highway work zones on I-95 in Norwalk and Westport, Willow Street Bridge in East Hartford and Route 8 between Seymour and Derby. After receiving a warning, drivers going at least 15 miles above the posted speed limit will be fined $75 and $150 for subsequent violations. The program will run through Dec. 31.

The Village of Greenport will temporarily ban new construction downtown. The Suffolk County Planning Commission approved last week the village’s development moratorium for at least another two months. Officials were concerned a boon in construction was destabilizing the small waterfront business district.

The Quinnipiac University men’s ice hockey team has won the NCAA Championship. The Bobcats beat the top-ranked Minnesota, 3-2, on Saturday. A formal celebration will be held Monday night at the M&T Bank Arena in Hamden.

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Terry Sheridan is a Peabody-nominated, award-winning journalist. As Senior Director of News and Education, he developed a unique and award-winning internship program with the Stony Brook University School of Communications and Journalism, where he is also a lecturer and adjunct professor. He also mentors graduate fellows from the Sacred Heart University Graduate School of Communication, Media and the Arts.
An award-winning freelance reporter/host for WSHU, Brian lives in southeastern Connecticut and covers stories for WSHU across the Eastern side of the state.