Good news! Last week, Gov. Lamont released his 2021 adult-use legalization bill. As you may recall, last year Gov. Lamont drafted a legalization bill but the effort was upended when the legislative session was suspended due to the onset of the coronavirus.
Gov. Lamont’s 2021 proposal — S.B. 888 — would legalize possession of up to one and a half ounces for persons over 21, with legal sales beginning on May 2, 2022.
An Equity Commission would issue recommendations by November 15, 2021 on a number of issues, including qualifications for equity applicants and distribution of a portion of tax revenues to support residents in communities disproportionately harmed by cannabis prohibition.
Additionally, the bill would decriminalize possession of up to two and a half ounces. Persons with convictions for cannabis possession under four ounces prior to October 1, 2015 would have their records automatically expunged. Persons with possession convictions for less than four ounces after October 1, 2015 would be allowed to petition the court for expungement at no cost. Gov. Lamont’s bill also provides important public health and safety protections, such as labeling standards and preventing advertising to minors.
Lastly, the bill would levy a wholesale tax of $1.25 per dry weight gram of cannabis flower, $.50 per dry weight gram of cannabis trim, and $.28 per wet weight gram of cannabis, in addition to the state sales tax of 6.25%. Municipalities could also levy up to a 3% point of sale tax. To learn more, you can check out our bill summary here.
The bill now heads to the Judiciary Committee for a hearing. We will urge the committee to advance the bill but to first make some revisions to make it stronger and more explicit on equity. We’ll be sure to keep you updated on how to offer testimony on the proposal. In the meantime, please urge your legislators to support the legislation to regulate and tax the sale of cannabis to adults in the 2021 session.