Meriden pot dispensary owner urges patience ahead of opening

reporter photo

MERIDEN — With only nine hybrid dispensaries opening statewide, recreational cannabis customers are asked to have patience when the legal sales market opens Jan. 10.

“Upon the commencement of legal adult use cannabis sales, consumers should be patient with fellow shoppers and dispensary staff, as lines can be expected throughout the initial exciting days following the end of cannabis prohibition in Connecticut,” said James Leventis, executive vice president of Verano, in an email. Verano is the parent company of CTPharma and Willow Brook Wellness in Meriden.

Willow Brook on East Main Street, a current medical marijuana dispensary, is among the cannabis retailers set to open as a hybrid with a new name on Jan. 10. Willow Brook will be named Zen Leaf after its main product line. 

Verano, which operates in 14 states, has experience in opening marijuana markets in the U.S., most recently in New Jersey.  

“Based on our experience in states that previously converted from medical to adult use cannabis programs, there is a lot of excitement on the first day of sales,”  Leventis said. “Along with our valued medical patients, recreational shoppers may choose to order in advance online on the Zen Leaf website, or can speak with an advisor who can provide options based on their preference and desired experience.” 

Verano and other key producers and retailers will continue to make its medical marijuana patients its top priority as it rolls out its recreational sales. 

Medical patients have been advised to

stock up in the days prior to the roll out, said Kaitlyn Krasselt, spokeswoman for the state Department of Consumer Protection, which oversees the state’s cannabis program. There are also nine other medical dispensaries statewide that are not hybrids and can service medical patients. Recreational customers are restricted to purchasing a quarter ounce of cannabis, whereas medical patients are allowed five ounces per month.

“It’s hard to say what the demand will be,” Krasselt said. “People should expect lines and traffic.”

Connecticut required 250,000 square feet of grow and manufacturing space before opening hybrid sales. CTPharma in Rocky Hill is Zen Leaf’s supplier and currently the state’s largest grow facility. It has scaled down its strain varieties to focus on supplying the increased demand.

Customers might find certain strains not available in the early days, or the vaults depleted over delivery issues. Customers might have to wait until the next day for another shipment.

“It doesn’t mean there is a shortage,” Krasselt said. “Some products will be sold out until the next day.”

State officials and operators studied roll outs in neighboring states to get an idea of what to expect. In Massachusetts, some of the demand has died down as more dispensaries opened.

The locations of the dispensaries can also impact supply resources. For instance, customers who live near the Massachusetts and New York borders might continue to visit those sites until inventory and supply pick up in Connecticut.

“As time goes on and demand begins to normalize, consumers can engage with Zen Leaf cannabis advisors, visit the Zen Leaf website, and learn more about the variety of products grown and sold in Connecticut,” Levantis said.

City officials are also preparing for when Zen Leaf opens for retail sales and are meeting with Verano representatives on expectations for traffic and public safety.

Zen Leaf, formerly Willow Brook will be open 9 6 p.m. on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, and from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Thursday and Friday, and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

Following the onset of adult use sales, Zen Leaf Meriden’s hours will likely be extended, Leventis said.

mgodin@record-journal.com203-317-2255Twitter: @Cconnbiz


More From This Section