Connecticut comes on board as 19th legal marijuana state

Connecticut could become the 19th state in the U.S. to legalize the use of recreational marijuana, according to an article in “The Hartford Courant”. The Senate Special Committee on Marijuana Policy is expected to adopt a bill that would allow municipalities to decide whether to permit retail sales of the drug through their towns, the article states.

The Connecticut House of Representatives on Tuesday approved legislation that would make the state the 19th to allow non-medical use of marijuana. The bill now heads to the Senate and, if it is approved there, the bill will end up on the desk of Gov. Dannel Malloy.

In June, Democratic Governor Ned Lamont signed legislation legalizing, taxing, and regulating cannabis in Connecticut. In a special session, both houses of the state legislature gave final approval to the bill, which was supported by Senate President Martin Looney and House Speaker Matt Ritter.

SB 1201 makes it lawful for individuals 21 and older to possess up to one and a half ounces of cannabis beginning July 1, 2021, with legal sales expected by May 2022. Beginning July 1, 2023, adults will be able to safely grow cannabis at home. A complete overview of the measure may be found here, as well as a comparison of it to other state legalization bills.

S.B. 1201 legalizes cannabis and dedicates the majority of excise tax proceeds to a Social Equity and Innovation Fund, which will be used to foster a diversified cannabis sector and reinvest in hard-hit areas, in addition to expunging lower-level cannabis records. Half of new cannabis company licenses will go to social equity applicants, who will be eligible for technical support, start-up financing, accelerator program assistance, and workforce training.

With the governor’s signature, Connecticut joins New Mexico, New York, and Virginia as the 19th state to legalize cannabis for adults, the sixth state to do so via its state legislature, and the fourth state to do so this year. 

mpp logo marijuana policy project lobby, lobbying

The Marijuana Policy Project’s executive director, Steven Hawkins, stated, “We congratulate the Legislature and governor for their dedication to pushing this vital, equity-centered legalization law across the finish line.”

“Connecticut has recognized that cannabis legalization is a civil rights problem and has designed a legalization legislation to address uneven cannabis enforcement and the damage caused by marijuana prohibition to Black and Brown communities, young people, and other disadvantaged groups.” 

MPP’s senior legislative counsel, DeVaughn Ward, said, “MPP is pleased to have played a significant role in this multi-year campaign to change Connecticut’s cannabis laws.”

“We think Gov. Lamont’s bill is one of the most comprehensive cannabis laws in the country in terms of fairness and criminal justice reform. This new legislation will make a significant difference in the lives of Connecticut residents by mitigating decades of unequal effect, creating good-paying employment and fueling the state’s economic development, and enabling adults to make their own cannabis use decisions.”

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