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June 18, 2021

Connecticut Will Be 19th State to Approve Recreational Cannabis

June 22 update
Governor Lamont signed the cannabis legalization bill into effect today. Marijuana will be legal for adults to possess and use on July 1.

Connecticut state legislators have passed a bill to legalize adult cannabis use, possession and sales. The bill has been sent to Governor Ned Lamont, who supports the law. Lawmakers say the legal market could be in place by May 2022, but possession will be legal on July 1—less than two weeks from now.

“I look forward to signing the bill and moving beyond this terrible period of incarceration and injustice,” Lamont said in a statement.

The law will allow adults 21 and older to possess or use up to 1.5 ounces of “plant material” (plus an additional five ounces in a locked container). The 1.5-ounce possession limit would equal 7.5 grams of THC concentrates, according to Leafly—or any cannabis products with a total THC content of 750 milligrams or less.

THC content will be capped at 30 percent for cannabis flower and concentrates, according to Marijuana Moment. However, prefilled oil cartridges will have a 60 percent limit. Retailers will be required to also offer high-CBD and low-THC products.

In addition to the state’s regular 6.35 percent sales tax, cannabis will be taxed based on THC content—$0.00625/mg for flower, $0.0275/mg for edibles, and $0.009/mg for other products like concentrates and carts, according to MJ Biz Daily. That would mean a tax of $1.25/gram for flower containing 20 percent THC, $2.75 on a 10-pack of 10 mg gummies, or $5.40 on a 1-gram cart with 60 percent THC oil.

Municipalities allowing marijuana sales can also add their own three percent tax, which must be used for community reinvestment. Cities must let citizens decide whether to allow cannabis commerce by referendum.

The law phases in home cultivation, allowing medical patients to possess three mature and three immature plants beginning Oct. 1, and recreational users to begin cultivating plants July 1, 2023.

The Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection will create regulations for the industry. The law mandates that half of commercial licenses will go to applicants given a social equity designation—people who have been arrested for marijuana possession or their family members.

Most criminal convictions for possession of less than four ounces of cannabis will be automatically expunged, beginning in 2023. For some other convictions, people may petition the state beginning in 2022 to erase them.

Connecticut will become the 19th state to approve recreational marijuana, and the fourth this year. Virginia, New York and New Mexico have all passed laws in the last four months to legalize non-medical cannabis possession. Most of Connecticut’s neighboring states have already legalized marijuana, including New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts.

Federal legalization is a possibility this year too. An updated version of the Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act was introduced in May, and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has promised a Senate legalization bill soon.

Smokers created vaping without any help from the tobacco industry or anti-smoking crusaders, and vapers have the right to keep innovating to help themselves. My goal is to provide clear, honest information about the challenges vaping faces from lawmakers, regulators, and brokers of disinformation. I recently joined the CASAA board, but my opinions aren’t necessarily CASAA’s, and vice versa. You can find me on Twitter @whycherrywhy
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