Gov. Ned Lamont signs S.B. 1201 into law, making Connecticut the 19th state to end cannabis prohibition
Hartford, CT — Today, Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont (D) signed S.B. 1201 — a bill to legalize, tax, and regulate cannabis for adults 21 and over — into law. The legislation, sponsored by Senate President Martin Looney and House Speaker Matt Ritter, received final approval from both chambers of Connecticut’s legislature in a special session last week.
With the governor’s signature, Connecticut is now the 19th state to legalize cannabis for adults 21 and over, the sixth state to legalize via its state legislature, and the fourth state to adopt a legalization policy this year alone, joining New Mexico, New York, and Virginia.
The Marijuana Policy Project played a leading role in the fight to reform Connecticut’s cannabis laws.
“We commend the Connecticut Legislature and governor for their commitment to getting this important, equity-centered legalization bill over the finish line,” said Steven Hawkins, executive director for the Marijuana Policy Project. “Connecticut has recognized that cannabis legalization is a civil rights issue and crafted a legalization law that aims to redress the unequal enforcement of cannabis laws and the harm caused by marijuana prohibition to Black and Brown communities, young people, and other marginalized groups.”
S.B. 1201 legalizes possession of up to one and a half ounces of cannabis for adults 21 and over. The bill will go into effect on July 1, 2021, with legal sales anticipated by May 2022. Adults will be permitted to securely cultivate cannabis at home starting July 1, 2023. A full summary of the bill is available here, and a comparison between it and other state legalization laws is available here.
In addition to legalizing cannabis, S.B. 1201 includes expungement of lower-level cannabis records and dedicates the bulk of excise tax revenues into a Social Equity and Innovation Fund, which will be used to promote a diverse cannabis industry and reinvest in hard-hit communities. Half of new cannabis business licenses will be issued to social equity applicants, who can receive technical assistance, start-up funding, assistance from an accelerator program, and workforce training.
“MPP is proud to have played a key part in this multi-year effort to reform Connecticut’s cannabis laws,” said DeVaughn Ward, senior legislative counsel for the Marijuana Policy Project. “We believe the legislation signed by Gov. Lamont is one of the most comprehensive cannabis bills on equity and criminal justice reform in the nation. This new policy will make a real difference in the lives of Connecticut’s citizens by mitigating decades of disproportionate impact, generating good-paying jobs and powering the state’s economic growth, and allowing adults to make their own decisions about cannabis consumption.”