Marijuana is legal for adults and is taxed and regulated similarly to alcohol; state also has a medical marijuana law
Last update: April 27, 2023
Connecticut: 19th state to legalize
In 2021, Connecticut became the 19th state to legalize cannabis for adults 21 and over, joining border states New York and Massachusetts in ending cannabis prohibition. On June 22, 2021,Gov. Edward “Ned” Lamont signed S.B. 1201 — “An Act Concerning the Equitable and Responsible Regulation of Cannabis” — into law. This marked the conclusion of a multi-year effort to legalize, regulate, and tax cannabis in the Constitution State led by MPP and the Connecticut Coalition to Regulate Marijuana.
The House and Senate passed S.B. 1201 in a special session with 76-62 and 16-11 votes, respectively. The bill was hailed as one the most comprehensive cannabis bills to date, with provisions for designated social equity licenses, expungement, employment protections, labor peace requirements, and home grow rights. You can check out a bill summary here and a condensed version here.
Since going into effect, adults 21 and over in the Constitution state have been able to legally possess up to 1.5 ounces of cannabis on their person and up to 5 ounces in a locked container at home or a locked glovebox. Possession of up to 1 ounce of cannabis had been decriminalized in Connecticut since 2011.
On January 10, 2023, Connecticut launched adult-use cannabis sales. Adults 21 and over with a valid ID can now purchase up to 1/4 ounce of cannabis or its equivalent at hybrid or adult-use retailers. The law imposes an excise tax on each transaction based on potency at $0.00625 per milligram of THC in raw, flower cannabis; $0.0275 per milligram of THC in edibles; and $0.009 per milligram of THC in other cannabis products. Each transaction is also subject to state's sales and municipal tax.
Legalization bill creates pathways to record clearance for thousands
On December 6, 2022, Gov. Lamont announced that over 44,000 cannabis convictions were scheduled for automatic erasure ahead of the January 1, 2023 deadline set for automatic erasure of certain cannabis offenses in accordance with Connecticut's legalization law. Since the legalization law went into effect, individuals with convictions for possession, manufacturing, or sales under four ounces or six plants, have been able to petition the court for erasure. Those who have their records erased may tell employers, landlords, and schools that the conviction never occurred.
In April 2023, the State's Attorney reported that prosecutors had dismissed more than 1,500 pending cannabis related crimes because of Connecticut's legalization law.
Social Equity Efforts Off to Promising Start
On December 28, 2022, the Department of Consumer Protection finished its first adult-use licensing round, awarding 56 licenses in nine different license categories. 50% of the licenses were awarded to social equity applicants.
Beginning July 1, 2023, 60% to 75% of all cannabis excise tax revenue will be directed to the Social Equity and Innovation Fund. These funds can be used to promote social equity in relation to access to capital for businesses, funding workforce education, and funding for community investments.
2023 Session Kicks Off With Several Changes to Cannabis Laws in Play
On January 4, 2023, Connecticut's legislative session got underway. Several proposals have been offered that would change the adult-use cannabis landscape. First, HB6697 would clarify limits on equity joint ventures, financial backers for social equity licensees, and signage and advertising restrictions for cannabis businesses. HB6699 would create an off-site event permit for adult-use retailers. HB5413 would authorize the deduction of certain business expenses by cannabis establishments on their state taxes.
Lastly, HB 6787 would end prosecutions of any pending cannabis related cases for conduct authorized by the legalization law and mandates a sentence review of certain cannabis convictions. The legislative session adjourns on June 7, 2023. As the session progresses, make sure you subscribe to MPP's alerts to get all the latest updates.
To stay updated on the status of marijuana policy reform in Connecticut, be sure to subscribe to MPP's alerts, if you haven't done so already.
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.