Medical marijuana patients in Connecticut now have the ability to purchase medical cannabis from a licensed dispensary after the Healing Corner and Arrow Alternative Care opened their doors Monday afternoon after nearly two years of waiting.
The centers, two of six in the state, opened their doors to long lines yesterday after finally receiving product from Theraplant, one of four state-licensed pot farms legally allowed to supply the dispensaries.
“I don’t have to hide something that helps me,” patient and veteran Daniel Gaita, who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, told the Hartford Daily Courant. “It will enable me to treat my symptoms without feeling like a criminal.”
Pot was dispensed in pre-packaged five-, 10-, 15- and 35-gram amounts, prerolled doobies and limited concentrates. Edibles were not available at shops, but Theraplant says they should be available in the coming months. Pricing was absurdly steep, with herb going for as much as $20 a gram. That’s mostly due to the current monopoly held by Theraplant, which is charging retailers $11 a gram, dispensary owners claim. For comparison, grams of cannabis sell for $5 to $8 per-gram regularly in Colorado medical cannabis retial stores. Ounces were selling at slightly discounted rates, $275 to $340, but they sell for half that or less in other medical states.
“Smokables are going to be available first, but remember these smokables can also be vaporized,” Angelo DeFazio, Arrow Alternative Care owner, told the Courant “We believe in vaporization. It’s a better route of administration for the patient. It gets more of a dose to the patient quicker.”
The market is small, however. There are only about 2,300 medical patients in the state. But dispensary owners say that the newfound availability will likely push more patients to try medical cannabis as an option. Patients with MS, spinal damage, cancer, HIV/AIDS, epilepsy, Crohn’s disease, Parkinson’s, cachexia and spasticity.
For more information on the Connecticut Medical Cannabis Program including how you can register if you live in the state, visit the state Department of Consumer Affairs website.