Connecticut to join 17 other U.S. states in legalizing adult-use cannabis

Bethan Rose Jenkins, Cannabis News Writer/Editorial

Preparations are being made for Connecticut’s adult-use cannabis market, which was voted into effect by the state’s House of Representatives  on Wednesday, June 16. Members of the Senate followed suit in approving the bill the following day.

Once a legal market is enacted, Connecticut will become the 18th U.S. state to legalize the plant for recreational use and sale. However, this won’t be possible until Democratic Governor Ned Lamont signs the legislation.

“I look forward to signing the bill and moving beyond this terrible period of incarceration and injustice,” reads a Tweet from the Governor, who has long been supportive of legal weed. 

Recently, Lamont indicated that he would veto a version of adult-use cannabis legislation in Connecticut that would have offered former cannabis convicts the opportunity to apply for a license before other applicants. 

This amendment was changed, after Lamont proclaimed that wealthy people ought to be given the same chance as people who have previously been charged with a cannabis-related offense/impacted by the failed War on Drugs.

“This measure is comprehensive, protects our children and the most vulnerable in our communities, and will be viewed as a national model for regulating the adult-use cannabis marketplace,” Lamont wrote in a statement after the Legislature imposed an income limit for individuals pursuing priority status.

What does Connecticut’s cannabis legalization bill entail?

With Lamont’s signature, cannabis possession in Connecticut will become legal on July 1. The legislative framework will legalize possession up to the amount of 1.5 ounces for adults aged 21 and above.

Home cannabis cultivation will also be permitted, but only for patients who are qualified to use the plant for medical purposes.

By May of 2022, a commercial cannabis marketplace is anticipated to be running smoothly. Social equity applicants will bag half of the available business licenses; the state will provide financial assistance and technical training to these applicants.

A big chunk of tax revenue generated through Connecticut’s adult-use cannabis market would be earmarked to support communities worst-affected by drug prohibition. By the year 2023, the majority of possession convictions would be expunged.

Moreover, people would have the chance to appeal to the state if they wish to have other types of cannabis convictions expunged starting from July 2022.

Connecticut’s adult-use cannabis legislation indicates growing acceptance for reform

Connecticut is the fourth U.S. state to legalize cannabis for recreational purposes this year; it joins  New York, New Mexico, and Virginia.

With more of the U.S. map turning green, it’s clear that the nation is progressively embracing reform issues. Cannabis advocates acknowledged their efforts paying off last November, when five states that featured a medicinal or recreational cannabis bill on their ballot managed to successfully pass such laws. 

Currently, cannabis is still illegal at the federal level. However, Democrats in Congress have shown signs that they are leaning towards cannabis reform. 

“We’re going to get some support from the right on this, as well, we hope, and we’re going to push it,” reads an official statement from Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) in May. 

“It’s going to take a little while. We’re going to need a mass campaign. But there’s real excitement in the country to do this,” he added.