Marijuana is legal for adults and is taxed and regulated similarly to alcohol; state also has a medical marijuana law
Last update: January 23, 2023
Adult Use Sales Begin in Connecticut
On January 10, 2023, Connecticut launched cannabis sales for adult 21 and over. Following the Social Equity Council’s vote Tuesday, all existing medical marijuana producers had met the requirements for an expanded license that allows them to supply both the adult-use cannabis and medical marijuana consumers. To protect patient supply, the law required at least 250,000 square feet of growing and manufacturing space in the aggregate be approved for adult-use production before retail sales can begin at licensed retailers, including hybrid retailers. Seven dispensaries began operations on January 10 with the remaining two slated to open in the coming weeks.
Adults 21 and over with a valid ID can now purchase up to 1/4 ounce of cannabis or its equivalent per transaction. Legal possession of 1.5 ounces of cannabis and up to 5 ounces in a locked container at home or locked glovebox has been allowed since 2021 when the earliest portions of Connecticut's legalization law became effective.
Gov. Lamont announces cannabis record clearance for thousands
On December 6, 2022, Gov. Lamont announced that over 44,000 cannabis convictions are scheduled to be cleared using an automated erasure method as part of the 2021 legalization law he signed into effect.
How people will receive erasure will depend on when they received their conviction. Specifically:
Convictions for violations of C.G.S. § 21a-279(c) for possession of under four ounces of a non-narcotic, non-hallucinogenic substance imposed between January 1, 2000, and September 30, 2015, will be automatically erased on January 1, 2023. People included under this provision of the law need not do anything to make these convictions eligible for erasure.
Convictions for the following violations can be erased if one files a petition in Superior Court:
Convictions for violations of C.G.S. § 21a-279 for possession of less than or equal to four ounces of a cannabis-type substance imposed before January 1, 2000, and between October 1, 2015, and June 30, 2021.
Convictions for violations of C.G.S. § 21a-267(a) for possession with intent to use drug paraphernalia for cannabis imposed before July 1, 2021.
Convictions for violations of C.G.S. § 21a-277(b) imposed before July 1, 2021, for manufacturing, selling, possessing with intent to sell, or giving or administering to another person a cannabis-type substance and the amount involved was under four ounces or six plants grown inside a person’s home for personal use.
Residents who have had their records erased may tell employers, landlords, and schools that the conviction never occurred.
Connecticut adult-use lottery process begins
On February 3, 2022, a 90-day application period for Disproportionately Impacted Cultivators and Social Equity Retailers opened. This is the first of nine adult-use cannabis license types that will become available as a result of Connecticut’s 2021 legalization law.
Applications can be found here and must be completed through an online portal. Information about what is required to apply for each license type is available at ct.gov/cannabis. Interested applicants can also view a description of each license type here. The application periods for the remaining license types open on the following days:
Micro-cultivator: February 10, 2022
Delivery Service: February 17, 2022
Hybrid Retailer: February 24, 2022
Food and Beverage: March 3, 2022
Product Manufacturer: March 10, 2022
Product Packager: March 17, 2022
Transporter: March 24, 2022
License applications will be reviewed after each application period ends in 90 days. In each licensing round, there are a limited number of licenses available through the social equity and open license lottery:
Retailer: 6 general licenses, 6 social equity licenses
Micro-cultivator: 2 general licenses, 2 social equity licenses
Delivery Service: 5 general licenses, 5 social equity licenses
Hybrid Retailer: 2 general licenses, 2 social equity licenses
Food and Beverage: 5 general licenses, 5 social equity licenses
Product Packager: 3 general licenses, 3 social equity licenses
Product Manufacturer: 3 general licenses, 3 social equity licenses
Transporter: 2 general licenses, 2 social equity licenses
Connecticut Social Equity Council members and executive director appointed
Connecticut’s Social Equity Council is now fully appointed. The Council held its first meeting on September 2, 2021. As part of Public Act 21-1, the Social Equity Council was created to ensure that the adult-use cannabis market in Connecticut is created in an equitable fashion, providing individuals and communities most impacted by the war on drugs are granted market opportunities and funds from the adult-use program. The Social Equity Council consists of 15 members, seven of whom are appointed by the legislature, four who are appointed by the governor, and four who are ex officio members. On August 25, 2021, Gov. Lamont announced he would appoint Ginne-Rae Clay as interim executive director of the Social Equity Council.
According to the statement released by Gov. Lamont, “Clay is an accomplished senior executive with more than 35 years of expertise in government, organizational management, education, community action, and community engagement. Most recently, she served with the City of Bridgeport as the deputy director of the Office of Planning and Economic Development.”
You can view a list full list of the Social Equity Council’s members here.
Gov. Lamont signs S.B. 1201, legalizing cannabis starting July 1
On June 22, 2021, Gov. Edward “Ned” Lamont signed S.B. 1201 — “An Act Concerning the Equitable and Responsible Regulation of Cannabis” — into law, concluding a multi-year effort to legalize, regulate, and tax cannabis in the Constitution State. Earlier in June, the House and Senate passed S.B. 1201 in special session on 76-62 and16-11 votes, respectively.
Under the bill, starting July 1, adults 21 and over will be allowed to possess up to one and a half ounces on their person and up to five ounces in a locked trunk or secure location in their home. Legal sales are anticipated to begin by May 2022. Adults will be allowed to securely cultivate cannabis at home starting July 1, 2023. Additionally, 50% of the licenses will be reserved for equity applicants, and up to 75% of the revenue will be dedicated towards equity efforts and community reinvestment. You can check out a full summary of the bill here and a condensed summary 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 leading role in the multi-year effort to legalize cannabis in Connecticut, with a focus on equity and reparative justice. We are grateful to legislative leadership, the governor’s office, advocates, and lawmakers for working to get cannabis reform past the finish line and to get it done right. Many thanks to our amazing Regulate CT lobbying and advocacy team — MPP’s senior legislative counsel DeVaughn Ward; Paul Nuñez and the staff of Depino, Nuñez, and Biggs; Adam Wood of City and State Public Affairs; and Hillary Glass of Reynolds Strategy Group for all of their insight and assistance.
Congratulations to the Constitution State on this huge victory!
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Important news! Next Wednesday, May 4, the application period for the retailer cannabis lottery ends. To date, over 3,000 applications have been submitted for the 12 adult-use retail establishments that are set to open following passage of Connecticut’s 2021 legalization law.