Connecticut poised to become 19th state to legalize cannabis!

 

A bill to legalize, tax, and regulate cannabis for adults 21 and over has received final approval from both chambers of Connecticut’s legislature. S.B. 1201, sponsored by Senate President Martin Looney and House Speaker Matt Ritter, passed the Senate and House of Representatives in a special session by margins of 16-11 and 76-62, respectively. The bill now heads to the desk of Gov. Ned Lamont, who is expected to sign it into law.

S.B. 1201 will legalize possession of up to one and a half ounces for adults 21 and over. The bill will go into effect on July 1, 2021, with legal sales anticipated by May 2022. Adults will be allowed to securely cultivate cannabis at home starting July 1, 2023. A full summary of the bill is available here, and a comparison between it and other state legalization laws is available here.

In addition to legalizing cannabis, S.B. 1201 includes expungement of lower-level cannabis records and dedicates the bulk of excise tax revenues to a Social Equity and Innovation Fund, which will be used to promote a diverse cannabis industry and reinvest in hard-hit communities. Half of new cannabis business licenses will be issued to social equity applicants, who can receive technical assistance, start-up funding, assistance from an accelerator program, and workforce training.

MPP is proud to have played a leading role in the multi-year effort to legalize cannabis in Connecticut, with a focus on equity and reparative justice. We are grateful to legislative leadership, the governor’s office, advocates, and lawmakers for working to get cannabis past the finish line and to get it done right. Many thanks to our amazing Regulate CT lobbying and advocacy team — MPP’s senior legislative counsel and Regulate CT coalition co-director DeVaughn Ward; Paul Nuñez and the staff of Depino, Nuñez, and Biggs; Adam Wood of City and State Public Affairs; and Hillary Glass of Reynolds Strategy Group for all of their insight and assistance.

Congratulations to the Constitution State on this huge victory!