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Connecticut Legalizes Recreational Cannabis

By Leo Bear-McGuinness

Published: Jun 22, 2021   
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After weeks of anticipation, the governor of Connecticut has signed the state’s recreational cannabis legalization bill, effectively legalizing marijuana from July 1.

The bill was approved by both the state’s House and Senate earlier this month before being signed by Governor Ned Lamont on June 22.

With the bill’s signing, Connecticut becomes the fourth US state to approve adult-use cannabis through state legislature this year, following New York, Virginia, and New Mexico.

In the bill

Under the bill, an adult aged 21 or over can possess up to 42.5 grams (one and a half ounces) of marijuana flower or 7.5 grams of cannabis concentrate on their person. Up to 142 grams (five ounces) of flower or 25 grams of concentrate will be permitted in a secured home or vehicle.

But while recreational cannabis use may be legal come July 1, Connecticut residents will have to wait a bit longer to buy their bud legally, as business licenses have yet to be handed out. Optimistically, according to Lamont, the state’s legal market could open as soon as May 2022.

Like many other states that have legalized adult-use cannabis in the US, Connecticut has also put social justice provisions front and center in its legalization plan.

“The war on cannabis, which was at its core a war on people in Black and Brown communities, not only caused injustices and increased disparities in our state, it did little to protect public health and safety,” Governor Lamont said in a statement shortly after the legalization bill cleared the House and the Senate.

“That’s why I introduced a bill and worked hard with our partners in the legislature and other stakeholders to create a comprehensive framework for a securely regulated market that prioritizes public health, public safety, social justice, and equity.”

Under the bill, there will be a requirement to reserve 50 percent of applications in Connecticut for social equity applicants, such as those who reside in areas that have been disproportionately affected by drug convictions or those with past cannabis arrests.

Most criminal convictions for possession of less than four ounces of cannabis will also be automatically expunged beginning in 2023.

As per the bill’s wording, municipalities in the state, should they permit cannabis retail, will be limited to one retailer and one micro-cultivator per 25,000 residents until at least July 1, 2024.

Connecticut legalized medical cannabis back in 2012. And as of June 13 this year, Connecticut had 54,227 registered medical cannabis patients, 18 dispensaries, 4 producers, and 1,451 registered physicians.


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