High Opinion: If Massholes Go To Maine For Weed, Do Connectischmucks Go To Mass?

Comparing cannabis in the commonwealth with the Nutmeg State and Vacationland

We all have friends who claim cannabis is no good or way too expensive in the Bay State for them to make purchases here. Instead, they love telling people, they go to Maine for their “meds,” which is typically this personality’s preferred term for weed.

Nevermind that there are countless ace cultivators in Mass, licensed or otherwise, or that a quick search of menus can yield big deals across the commonwealth. The very vocal Mainebound set is unrelenting; for them, it’s a trip across the border or bust. Gas expenses and reality be damned.

And now, this phenomenon may be repeating itself all over again. This time with edgy Connecticut consumers telling their friends and anyone who will listen that they head north for their gummies and flower.

Anecdotally, one needn’t scour further than relevant message boards for proof that people are at least claiming to make frequent pilgrimages. And in that case, there may be a difference between northbound pilgrims from the Nutmeg State and those heading to Maine from Mass in that while there is a lot of top-notch product between Boston and the Berkshires despite what your friend claims, Connecticut has far fewer options and certain startup struggles. As the Hartford Business Journal reported in March:

While not a widespread issue, cannabis quality has been a conversation topic and area of concern for some consumers and state lawmakers, especially as the state’s marijuana industry preps for a major growth spurt following the January launch of recreational sales.

As the state’s existing growers ramp-up production — and new cultivators enter the market — some want tighter quality controls and/or more transparency around the growing process.

It’s an issue that drew attention last year, when Connecticut adjusted the allowable amount of mold and yeast in medical cannabis to 100,000 colony-forming units per gram.

Comey’s bill would also address the mold and bacteria remediation methods currently allowed under state law. She said she’s spoken to constituents who want more transparency from cannabis growers about how they prepare and test products.

Instead of simply throwing shade on Connecticut and its four cultivators though—really, there are only four at this juncture—I looked at some of the available data, most of which suggests that while people may be jumping borders on all sides for various reasons, overall the separate markets are thriving regardless, even if many individual businesses aren’t.

As was widely reported, Massachusetts saw record sales on the adult-use side in June with $132.8 million, while Connecticut also set a record with $24 million. Another factor to consider is cost: last month, the average retail price of one gram of flower hit a new low in Mass at $5.82. It’s seemingly impossible to determine the cost of a gram in Connecticut using the state’s publicly available data, but with the average price of adult-use products at $39.47 in May, it’s hard to imagine there being too many bargains there.

Of course, many Massachusetts shops were designed in part to cater to and lure out-of-state clients. As far back as 2021, there were already 20 Bay State dispensaries within 20 minutes of the Connecticut border, with some proudly reporting significant out-of-state fan bases. A few of those operators have told me that they’re not feeling too much heat just yet, which echoes what Mass owners told CT Insider after dispensaries first opened in their readership area in January.

Meanwhile, according to the Maine Office of Cannabis Policy (OCP), the average retail price of one gram of cannabis in Vacationland is just over $8, down from nearly double that ($15.83) in 2020.

With all love and respect to retailers and cultivators here and there and everywhere, when it comes to spending my money, I’ll be shopping for cannabis in Mass for the foreseeable future. Unless I’m on vacation in another legal state, in which case I am sure their goods will do the trick.