Key Aspects of Connecticut’s Recently Passed Adult-Use Cannabis Law

By Michelle Bodian

Jun 24, 2021

Connecticut became the 19th state to legalize cannabis for adult use when Governor Ned Lamont signed SB 1202 into law on June 22, 2021. In addition to creating a legal and regulated adult-use cannabis program, updates were also made to the state’s existing medical cannabis program. 

The new law will go into effect on July 1, 2021.

Below are answers to the who, what, when, and where questions that surround this significant industry expansion in Connecticut.

Who is overseeing this initiative? 

  • The Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection (DCP) and a newly created Social Equity Council

  • The DCP will license and regulate cannabis businesses 

  • A 15-member Social Equity Council will be created (within the Department of Economic and Community Development) to create the criteria for social equity applications and make recommendations to DCP for an equitable cannabis program, among other requirements 

    • Membership: various members of the government and appointed members with a background in civil rights and social justice experience

When are the significant dates? 

  • On July 1, 2021: Adults 21 and older will be able to possess cannabis and cannabis products legally 

    • Adults may not have more than 1.5 oz of cannabis on their person

    • Adults may not have more than 5 oz of cannabis in their homes or locked in their car trunk or glove box

  • By July 31, 2021: All appointments shall be made to the Social Equity Council

  • On or before September 1, 2021: The Social Equity Council will post the necessary documentation requirements to inform applicants of the ownership, residency, and income requirements to qualify as a social equity applicant.  

  • On October 1, 2021: Medical patients can cultivate marijuana at home 

  • No later than 30 days after the Social Equity Council identifies ownership, residency, and income criteria for social equity applicants: DCP/Social Equity Council will begin accepting applications for all classes of licenses

  • Sometime in 2022: Retail sales of cannabis will begin

  • On July 1, 2023: Adults 21+ can cultivate marijuana at home

What adult-use license types will be available? 

  • Retailer/Hybrid Retailer
  • Cultivators
  • Micro-Cultivator
  • Product Manufacturer
  • Food and Beverage Manufacturer
  • Product Packager
  • Delivery Service or Transporter 

There will be a two-step license process: provision (expires after 14 months) and final license.

Where can these establishments be located?

  • Until June 30, 2024, municipalities cannot grant zoning approval for more retailers or micro-cultivators than a number that would allow for one retailer and one micro-cultivator for every 25,000 municipal residents

  • The DCP cannot approve the relocation of dispensary facilities or hybrid retailers to a location that is further than 10 miles from the current location

  • Municipalities can set restrictions on cannabis establishments’ proximity to religious institutions, schools, charitable institutions, hospitals, veterans’ homes or certain military establishments

  • Municipalities can prohibit all classes of cannabis establishments from opening within their jurisdiction, but cannot ban or prohibit cannabis delivery

If you'd like to learn more about Connecticut's new law, contact Michelle Bodian.

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