[author: Robert Gullo, Summer Associate]
Nearly two weeks after the State Senate first voted on Connecticut’s adult-use cannabis bill, Governor Ned Lamont signed it into law. Starting July 1st, Connecticut will become the 19th state to legalize recreational marijuana for adults 21 and older.
The adult-use bill had a bit of a bumpy ride this June, failing to be voted upon by the State House during the regular legislative session. From there, the vote got pushed to a special legislative session which began on June 15th. Both the House and the Senate voted to approve the adult-use bill, but only with some notable modifications. These changes include allowing those with past marijuana convictions to qualify for social equity licenses and preventing lawmakers from entering into the cannabis industry until they have been out of office for more than two years.
As the bordering states of New York and Massachusetts have already legalized cannabis for adult use, many feared that Connecticut was falling behind its neighbors. However, not everyone has been on board with The Constitution State’s plan to legalize recreational marijuana. Connecticut House Republican leader Vincent Candelora strongly opposed the marijuana legalization bill which he called “tainted” because of a narrow provision that would have benefitted only one entity. This provision was ultimately removed by the Senate at the request of the Governor, but this did not stop Candelora from calling for “an investigation in the governor’s office and the Democrats’ offices on how this provision came to be.” Similarly, the town of Prospect has already unanimously approved a ban on recreational marijuana stores and facilities to be opened within their jurisdiction.
Connecticut’s cannabis legalization bill mirrors many of the recent adult-use and legalization efforts across the country. Some of the fundamental provisions of the bill include: