Connecticut sales of retail cannabis could begin by 2022 after Governor Ned Lamont signed legislation making the southernmost state in the New England region of the United States the 19th state to legalize the sale of ganja to adults. Under the new law, those 21 years of age or older will be allowed to legally possess up to an ounce and a half of cannabis on their person and store as much as 5 ounces in their homes or vehicles (in a secure, locked container). New York and New Jersey passed similar laws earlier this year.
“By allowing adults to possess cannabis, regulating its sale and content, training police officers in the latest techniques of detecting and preventing impaired driving, and expunging the criminal records of people with certain cannabis crimes, we’re not only effectively modernizing our laws and addressing inequities, we’re keeping Connecticut economically competitive with our neighboring states,” said the Governor after the vote and signing.
Under the legislation, medical cannabis patients can cultivate up to six plants at home, and recreational users should have the legal right to do the same by 2023. Cannabis use will be permitted in private residences and anywhere where tobacco use is allowed other than in vehicles.
Like other recent states that have legalized retail sales of cannabis, Connecticut’s new legislation has social equity components built into the law. Half of the commercial cultivation licenses allotted will be awarded to applicants who fall into a “social equity” designation. Tax revenues generated from cannabis sales will be allocated to communities that are deemed disproportionately impacted by cannabis prohibition via education and business investments.
State leaders anticipate that as much as $70 million in revenue will be generated annually. Those who have been convicted in Connecticut for cannabis offenses will have their records automatically expunged.
Vivian McPeak is a Seattle based social justice activist, media personality, and writer. Vivian is the president of Seattle Events, a Non-Profit Organization, producer of the Seattle HEMPFEST®, the world’s largest annual cannabis policy reform rally. The recipient of the High Times Magazine 2012 Lester Grinspoon Lifetime Achievement Award and DOPE Magazine 2016 Emery Award for lifetime achievement, and in 2016 he was named one of the “50 Most Influential People” by Seattle Magazine. Vivian has appeared on numerous television and cable news networks, including FOX News, CNN, & NBC. McPeak is the host of Hempresent, a weekly radio podcast on Cannabis Radio with listeners on multiple continents.