Two years after the legalization of recreational marijuana in Colorado, no one national formula has emerged to dominate sales state to state.
But speakers at a recent marijuana conference said that Connecticut has run the most successful program in the New York tri-state area.
“Nobody has figured out this business yet,” said Scott Giannotti, founder of the Cannabis and Hemp Association, which hosted the first annual State of the Cannabis Industry in Manhattan earlier this month. “Entrepreneurs and investors who want to invest in marijuana companies need to be flexible because there’s so many sudden changes in legalization that can happen at any moment.”
Some 551 New Yorkers have been certified to obtain medical marijuana as patients since the state’s legalization program launched in January. That’s compared to 7,900 registered in Connecticut by the end of 2015, according to Viridian Capital data.
“The medical marijuana program in Connecticut is currently more profitable, but if New York increases the number of qualifying conditions permitted under the program, we believe that New York will surpass Connecticut,” said Michael J. Swartz, senior analyst with Viridian Capital Advisors in New York.
A grow facility in Connecticut called Curaleaf is one of the East Coast players that’s earning money by selling to dispensaries an array of product made with THC or CBD, such as oral mucous spray, oral syringes for oral cancer, capsules so people can ingest in pill form and pure undiluted extract for vaporization through the lungs.
“Revenue has been growing at 10 percent a month because of a steady rise in the patient population,” said Curaleaf CEO Ted Dumbauld who was the featured speaker at the event.
After being awarded a license to grow, Curaleaf opened a 40,000-square-foot cultivation center in Hartford County in August 2014 and just completed an extended friends and family capital round of some $5 million to fund the expansion of their product offerings and growing capacity.
“In general, a lot of the capital we see trying to come into the industry is from family offices,” said Curaleaf Chairman Robert Birnbaum. “The implication is that capital that can invest might earn a higher than normal return.”
But unlike New York’s medical marijuana program, Connecticut dispensaries are allowed to sell marijuana flower or leaf as well as edibles.