The 89th Governor of the State of Connecticut, Governor Ned Lamont, has signed into law legislation that legalizes and regulates the adult use of cannabis in the state of Connecticut this past 22nd of June, 2021. Some of the reforms approved include equity, criminal justice, public health, and safety, as stated by the Governor himself.
Some of the most important applications the Governor claimed the new legislation aims to give Connecticut are a competitive economical advantage, better training and prevention against driving under the influence of THC, justice for those who have been unjustly treated for certain cannabis-related crimes, and an overall healthier and evidence-based knowledge of cannabis for the people.
Senate Bill #1201 makes Connecticut the 19th state to legalize the adult recreational use of cannabis in the country. The bill was signed on June 22nd this year but has begun to function actively starting July 1st.
What Does the Bill Entail?
As of July 1st, adults 21 years and older may legally possess up to 42.5 grams of “cannabis plant material” and up to 141.7 grams in a locked container inside a home, the trunk of a car, or locked in the glove box.
Retail sales of cannabis are not expected to begin in Connecticut until the end of 2022. Every retail space, manufacturing, and growing facility will require a license expended directly by the state.
Hemp-derived products that lie in a grey area in terms of psychoactivity like different varieties of THC are considered adult-use cannabis and may only be sold through licensed dispensaries. On the same note, gifting cannabis is a possibility but may not be sold or ‘gifted’ to an individual who has paid or donated for another product.
Homegrown cannabis has been ‘defelonized’ starting July 1st this year and patients who participate in the state’s medical marijuana program may cultivate up to 6 plants in an indoor environment starting October 2021. The same is expected for non-medical consumers but not until the year 2023.
As for felons who have already been convicted of a cannabis-related crime, some of those convictions happening between Jan. 1, 2000, and Oct. 1, 2015, will be automatically erased. This will only happen for certain convictions (not all). Convictions outside that time period will require a petition.
Taxation is also a part of the passed bill and includes a municipal sales tax that benefits the town or city where the sale took place, a state sales tax, and a variable tax based on the THC content in the product and will also vary depending on the product category (edibles, flower, etc.).
Similar to other industries like tobacco and alcohol, cannabis advertising will be strongly regulated and banned on T.V., radio, internet, print, and billboards unless the advertiser can prove that at least 90% of the audience reached is 21 years or older. Other restrictions to advertising will also apply, like its restriction within 500 feet of a school.
The application of the new bill aims to make cannabis purchasing and consumption more convenient and safer for the citizens of Connecticut.
Key Dates for Connecticut’s New Cannabis Legislation
- Jun 22, 2021: Signing of the bill.
- Jul 1, 2021: Implementation of the bill and defelonization for specific cases
- Oct 1, 2021: Indoor farming compliance for medical patients
- End of 2022: Retail sales begin
- July 1, 2023: Indoor farming compliance for all citizens
Medical marijuana was legalized in Connecticut back in 2012. This means the cannabis industry in Connecticut has built up a solid experience base of almost 10 years. With almost 1,500 registered physicians, over 50 thousand patients, and dozens of dispensary facilities.
This experience has allowed the state to design effective ways of distributing and regulating cannabis in this new legal, recreational environment. Most of the licenses granted will be available to social equity applicants from communities impacted by the war on drugs and with high unemployment rates. A task that will be assigned to the new Social Equity Council and a lottery that has been designed to come into action depending on the number of applicants.