Connecticut: Improved legalization bill released

Apr 27, 2021

amended, Cannabis Control Commission, cannabis legalization, cannabis possession, cannabis revenue, Connecticut, Connecticut Coalition to Regulate Marijuana, Connecticut Judiciary Committee, CT, free erasure process, Gov. Lamont, licensing, negotiations, SB 888, social equity, Social Equity Council, Tax and Regulate

Connecticut: Improved legalization bill released

Ask your Connecticut state lawmakers to legalize cannabis this year.

Good news! As you may recall, earlier this month the Connecticut Judiciary Committee advanced an amended version of Gov. Lamont’s proposal to legalize cannabis for adults 21 and older in a 22-16 vote. The final language the committee approved was recently released, and it’s a major improvement over SB 888 as introduced.

Please email your state lawmakers and ask them to support legalization.

Here are some key features of the bill, as amended:

  • Social equity applicant status is defined as an applicant with 51% ownership or control by one or more persons with an immediate family member with a cannabis-related conviction, a resident of a disproportionately impacted area for five of the last 10 years, or a resident of tribal land. (We understand the provision allowing for applicants to qualify based solely on control — not ownership — will be removed during the process.)
  • Awards new licenses only to social equity applicants until January 1, 2024. At least 40% of licenses will be awarded to social equity applicants.
  • Allows existing medical businesses to become licensed on September 1, 2021 after paying a hefty conversion fee that is directed to social equity start-up.
  • In addition to allowing adults to possess up to 1.5 ounces on their person, it also allows up to five ounces in a locked location in one’s home.
  • Decriminalizes possession of up to four ounces and cultivation of up to six plants.
  • Creates a free erasure process for cannabis possession and sale convictions of up to four ounces or six mature plants.
  • Eliminates law enforcement’s ability to initiate a search on the basis of odor of cannabis or burnt cannabis.
  • Establishes a Cannabis Control Commission to establish guidelines for the issuance of licenses.
  • Establishes a 13-member Social Equity Council to further develop equity criteria, priority in licensing, and direct cannabis revenue.
  • In the first year and two months of legal sales, state cannabis revenue would be directed to the general fund. In year three of legal sales, and every year thereafter, 55 percent of the state excise tax revenue would be directed to the Cannabis Equity and Innovation Fund, 15 percent to prevention and recovery services, and 30 percent to the general fund.
  • Creates a cannabis business accelerator program.

You can check out an updated summary of the amended bill here.

Negotiations between the legislature and the governor’s office on the final details will continue over the coming weeks. We are working to ensure legislators send a bill to Gov. Lamont’s desk before the June 9 session deadline. We’ll be sure to keep you updated as the bill makes its way through the legislative process.

In the meantime, please spread the word and write your legislators, urging them to support legislation to regulate and tax the sale of cannabis to adults in the 2021 session.