Connecticut Set to Legalize Marijuana Use, Retail Sales for Adults

Hartford, CT: Members of the state House and Senate have given final approval to legislation, S.B. 1201, legalizing the adult-use marijuana market. The bill will now be transmitted to Democratic Gov. Ned Lamont, who is expected to sign the bill into law. 

The proposed measure allows adults 21 and older to possess up to 1.5 ounces of cannabis flowers or an equivalent amount of cannabis concentrates in public, and up to five ounces of marijuana in their private residence. Adults will be able to possess cannabis without penalty beginning on July 1, 2021. 

Those with past criminal records for activities involving up to four ounces of cannabis will have their convictions automatically expunged. Those with convictions for more serious offenses can petition the courts for relief.

Licensed retailers will be subject to both state and local regulations, and local municipalities may impose moratoriums on cannabis-related businesses. Marijuana flowers available at retail facilities will be capped at 30 percent THC, while concentrated products (except vape cartridges) will be capped at 60 percent THC. Retail purchases will be subject to the state’s sales tax. Designated public consumption facilities are permitted under the law in municipalities with 50,000 residents or more.

Home cultivation is permitted under the measure. Patients registered in the state’s medical cannabis program will be allowed to home-cultivate cannabis later this year, while non-patients must wait until 2021 until they are legally permitted to home-cultivate marijuana for their own personal use without any penalties.

The measure limits the discriminatory actions that employers, hospitals, and others may take against those who test positive for past cannabis exposure. It also provides protections for parents and tenants who use cannabis in compliance with the law. The bill mandates that the odor of marijuana alone cannot be used as a basis for police to search an individual, and it prohibits jail time as a penalty for those under the age of 21 who are caught in possession of marijuana. Young adults (those ages 18 to 20) will face civil penalties for marijuana possession.

“Connecticut is just the latest domino to fall as states begin to repeal their failed prohibition of marijuana and replace it with a sensible system of legalization and regulation. Never before has the momentum for legalization looked as strong as it does in 2021, with four state legislatures already approving bills to ensure state law reflects the overwhelming will of their state residents in just a few short months,” said Erik Altieri, NORML’s Executive Director. “Federal lawmakers need to stop dragging their feet and get the message: it is time to take swift action to end our federal prohibition and allow states to legalize marijuana as they see fit.”

Eighteen states have enacted adult-use legalization laws — with four doing so legislatively this year.