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Connecticut Signs Adult-Use Cannabis Legalization into Law

by Sarah Cawthon July 14, 2021

Governor Ned Lamont recently signed bill S.B. 1201 into law making Connecticut the 19th state to legalize adult-use cannabis in the US. The state is the fourth to approve cannabis legislation in 2021 with several others opting to expand their existing programs.

"We had a chance to learn from others, and I think we've got it right here in the state of Connecticut," said Lamont. "Maybe we weren't the first, but we were the first, I think, to show that we can get it right."

Under the new law, the state will allow adults 21 years and older to possess up to 1.5 ounces of cannabis beginning on July 1 with adult-use sales not expected to begin until summer 2022, at the earliest. Connecticut is projected to generate up to $600 million from both the state’s medical and adult-use programs by the end of 2023. Residents will also be allowed to grow up to three mature plants and three immature plants for personal use starting in July 2023.

In addition to legalizing cannabis, S.B. 1201 includes expungement of lower-level cannabis records and sets aside 50 percent of cannabis business licenses for social equity applicants, which include residents of communities that have been disproportionately affected by cannabis prohibition and high unemployment. Those convicted of possession from January 1, 2000, through September 30, 2015, will have their records automatically cleared beginning in 2023. Those with convictions outside of those dates will be able to apply to have their records expunged in July 2022.

Additionally, up to 75 percent of excise tax revenues will be allocated to social equity efforts and community reinvestment through a Social Equity and Innovation Fund. Legislative leaders will appoint members of a new Social Equity Committee who will ultimately create criteria and review social equity applications for the various licenses within the next few months.

"What makes it amazing is that (the bill) incorporated ... not only where we're going, but where we've been and making sure we deal with the things that impact communities because of where we've been,"  .

The law allows for the following cannabis business licenses: retailer, hybrid retailer, cultivator, micro-cultivator, product manufacturer, food and beverage manufacturer, product packager, transporter and delivery service license for social equity applicants. When the application process is announced, the Connecticut State Department of Consumer Protection will post more information regarding the process on its website.

Connecticut’s decision to legalize adult-use cannabis is likely to spur more states to do the same. Just a few hours after the Connecticut governor signed S.B. 1201 into law, the Rhode Island Senate approved the legalization of adult-use cannabis, and the bill will now go to the House. 

Prepare for Connecticut Adult-Use Cannabis Dispensary Opportunities  

If you’re seeking hands-on, ongoing assistance with applying for and operating a cannabis dispensary in Connecticut, contact our Unity Rd. team to learn how you can receive long-term guidance from industry veterans.

The Unity Rd. franchise opportunity offers a network of seasoned experts, trusted resources, a turnkey blueprint and ongoing operational support to confidently operate dispensaries that are compliant and profitable.

Otherwise, if you’d like to go about the application process on your own, you can begin preparing with our Application Guide and Checklist.




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