Recreational Cannabis in Connecticut: What’s Next?

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Connecticut is set to become the 19th state to legalize the recreational use of cannabis by adults, now that a long-awaited bill has authorized the General Assembly and Democratic Governor Ned Lamont has said he would sign it. While it is legal as of July 1 for adults 21 and over to own up to 1.5 ounces (42.5 grams) of cannabis, it will likely be at least a year before an industry breaks down. is operational.

Here’s a look at what to expect:

What happens first?

Effective July 1, the bill allows people 21 years of age and over to own or consume up to 1.5 ounces (42.5 grams) of “cannabis plant material” and up to 5 ounces. (141.7 grams) in a locked container in a house or in the trunk. or a locked glove box in the person’s vehicle.

Connecticut’s Department of Consumer Protection began serious work on new state regulations and necessary license applications for the legalized cannabis industry a few months ago. The ministry will continue these efforts and begin to accelerate the hiring of new agency staff. Commissioner Michelle H. Seagull has said she expects several dozen people to be hired for investigative and compliance work, licensing and communications. Seagull said the new hire will be intentionally staggered. For example, once businesses are up and running, that’s when the agency will need investigators or inspectors the most.

Investing in medical cannabis

Connecticut legalized medical cannabis in a law passed in 2012. Almost a decade later, as of June 13, there were 54,227 registered patients, 18 dispensaries, four producers, and 1,451 registered physicians. Seagull said his agency plans to use much of what has been learned from building the medical program to create and regulate a new system of recreation. This includes developing packaging and labeling protocols to prevent the drug from being mistaken for a product other than cannabis and falling into the hands of a child, as well as laboratory testing of other measures. product safety.

“Whether you are using it for medical purposes or for adults, you need to know what’s in your product and those labels should be there,” she said. “They must be manufactured using appropriate manufacturing standards.”

Application process

There will be different ways for people to apply to get involved in the state’s new adult cannabis market. For example, existing businesses will be able to apply to convert and start offering products to the adult market.

The expectation, Seagull said, is that half of the licenses will be made available to social equity claimants, which include residents of communities that have been “disproportionately affected” by drug crimes and drug abuse. high unemployment. A new 15-member Social Equity Council will be responsible for ensuring these people benefit from the system and making recommendations on what is expected of equity seekers for retailers, hybrid retailers, growers, microcultivators. , product manufacturers, food and beverage manufacturers, product packagers. , carrier and delivery service licenses. Some people may need to go through a lottery, depending on the number of applicants. In the meantime, there will be a parallel path for other applicants for the same licenses.

Seagull said the apps should be available in the coming months. Interested parties should check the agency’s website for updates.

Other issues

Whereas cannabis is still considered a federally banned controlled substance – thus preventing many cannabis-related companies from using banking services – Connecticut law requires the commissioner of the state’s Department of Banking to present recommendations to the General Assembly by January 1 on how to deal with the problem. challenge. The bill specifically seeks proposals on how to facilitate the use of electronic payments by cannabis establishments and consumers and how to provide cannabis businesses in the state with access to deposit banks and mortgages. commercial.

The bill also requires the state insurance commissioner to report to the governor and state legislators by Jan. 1 on cannabis establishments’ access to insurance.



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