Key facets of Connecticut’s newly-approved recreational cannabis law

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Bethan Rose Jenkins, Cannabis News Writer/Editorial

On June 22, Connecticut became the 19th U.S. state to legalize the cannabis plant for adult-use purposes. The state’s Governor Ned Lamont signed SB 1202 into law on June 22, 2021. 

Aside from creating a legal and regulated recreational cannabis program, the existing medical cannabis program has also been somewhat amended. The new law will be effectuated on July 1, 2021.

The Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection (DCP) and a new Social Equity Council will be relied on to oversee the initiative, which would also put the DCP in charge of licensing and regulating cannabis businesses, not to mention creating a 15-member Social Equity Council to set the criteria framework for social equity applications. 

Among the many requirements featured in Connecticut’s newly-approved recreational cannabis law, one stipulates that council members must make obligatory recommendations to the DCP for an equitable cannabis program.

Connecticut’s recreational cannabis law: What dates are important to remember?

Whether you are somebody who is simply following the rollout of Connecticut’s recreational cannabis industry or perhaps you are a business owner who wants to get their foot in the door, keeping a calendar of events is advisable.

Here’s what to expect on certain dates:

  • July 1, 2021: Adults aged 21 and above can legally possess cannabis and cannabis products; not exceeding 1.5 oz on their person or more than five ounces in their vehicle glove box, trunk or home. 
  • July 31, 2021: By this time, the Social Equity Council will begin receiving appointments.
  • September 1, 2021: Either on or before this date, the Social Equity Council will publish necessary documentation outlining the ownership, residency and income requirements that social equity applicants must abide by in order to qualify.
  • October 1, 2021: Medical patients can start cultivating the plant at home.
  • Unconfirmed date in 2022: Retail cannabis sales will begin in Connecticut.
  • July 1, 2023: Adults aged 21+ can legally start cultivating cannabis at home.

Various adult-use license types can be obtained with a two-step process

Every 14 months, adult-use cannabis license holders in Connecticut will need to reapply. The two-step license process includes a provisional license and a final license.

Listed below are the different types of recreational cannabis licenses that applicants can get their hands on for participation in the state’s nascent market:

  • Cultivator
  • Delivery Service/Transporter
  • Food & Beverage Manufacturer
  • Micro-Cultivator
  • Product Manufacturer
  • Product Packager
  • Retailer/Hybrid Retailer

Hopeful applicants ought to consider the fact that each license type includes specific restrictions in regards to where cannabis establishments can be located.

For example, up until June 30, 2024, one retailer and one micro-cultivator would be the limit for every 25,000 municipal residents; municipalities are not allowed to grant zoning approval to additional retailers or micro-cultivators.

Municipalities will also maintain the right to prevent cannabis establishments from opening in their jurisdiction. However, cannabis delivery cannot be prohibited or banned by municipalities, all of which will be able to set restrictions on a recreational cannabis store’s proximity to hospitals, schools, military facilities and religious sites.