Connecticut legislators recently passed a bill that removes an earlier restriction on how many cannabis stores and micro-grows can be in the state’s towns and cities. The new law also clarifies some industry regulations.
Connecticut Prepares for Recreational Cannabis Sales
Connecticut legalized recreational cannabis in 2021. Currently, adults 21 and older can possess up to 1.5 ounces of cannabis for medical or recreational use. Over the last year, the state has been working on rules that would regulate the new industry. So far, Connecticut hasn’t issued licenses for recreational cannabis sales. The state expects to finish setting guidelines by the end of 2022.
An early version of proposed regulations mandated that municipalities could only have one cannabis retail location per 25,000 residents. According to that rule, a town like New London, which has a population of about 28,000 people, could only have one retail cannabis store. New Haven, which has about 130,000 residents, could have up to five stores.
The new law removes that restriction, giving more control to local governments. Kaitlyn Krasselt, the Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection’s communications director, tells The Norwich Bulletin, “it’s up to towns to decide how many businesses are appropriate for their town.”
The state could reverse the decision in 2024, but that seems unlikely.
New Law Establishes Regulations for the Upcoming Cannabis Industry
The bill, which Governor Lamont signed into law on May 24, also clarifies some regulations ahead of the state sending licenses to recreational cannabis stores and cultivators.
A summary of the law states that it will:
- Ban billboard advertisements.
- Impose additional penalties for those who sell or trade cannabis outside of the legal limits.
- Define the financial and licensing responsibilities of dispensary and cultivation facilities.
Other changes will make it easier for certain applicants to take advantage of social equity programs. Accordingly, the state’s Social Equity Council (SEC) has grown its staff and started planning an accelerator program that teaches applicants how to operate successful businesses. The SEC also has access to a $10 million fund it can use to help qualified applicants start cannabis businesses.