Connecticut Cannabis Business Licenses
WHAT IS CONNECTICUT'S CURRENT CANNABIS MARKET STATUS?
Connecticut’s adult-use legalization efforts have been slow-moving, although recreational cannabis use has been decriminalized throughout the state. Connecticut has a medical cannabis program with 14 operating dispensaries, four operating producers, and 41,391 patients.
In June of 2021, after five years of effort, Connecticut lawmakers reached an agreement to legalize cannabis for adult use that Governor Ned Lamont plans to sign if passed by the legislature. The legislation would legalize personal possession and use of cannabis by adults and eventually outline a regulated commercial cannabis market in Connecticut, licensing growers, retailers, manufacturers, and delivery services with sales projected to begin in May 2022. The Department of Consumer Protection (DCP) would be in charge of licensing and regulating cannabis businesses.
After years of effort, Governor Ned Lamont (D) signed Senate Bill 1201 into law, legalizing cannabis for adult use. Possession of cannabis among adults age 21 and over is already legal in the state, which began July 1, 2021. Possession is capped at 1.5 ounces of cannabis per person and no more than 5 ounces in their homes or locked in their car. Retail sales of recreational cannabis are projected to begin by the end of 2022. The sale, manufacturing, and cultivation of cannabis require a license from the state. Prior cannabis convictions between January 2000 and October 1, 2015, will be automatically erased; all other convictions will require petitioning. The legislation also contains comprehensive reforms that address many areas, including equity, criminal justice, public health, and safety.
WHAT ARE CONNECTICUT'S CANNABIS LAWS?
On June 1, 2012, the Public Act 12-55 was signed into law by Governor Malloy, allowing patients with qualifying debilitating medical conditions the opportunity to purchase and possess medical cannabis with the written certification from a physician. However, unlike other states allowing medical cannabis, the law did not allow patients the right to grow the plant within the privacy of their homes. Under the Public Act 12-55, the state permitted ten dispensaries, all of which are currently occupied. A patient or caregiver can possess the amount deemed necessary by a physician to meet a one-month supply for the patient. Connecticut's current cannabis laws can be found here.
After five years of efforts, Connecticut lawmakers have reached a wide-ranging compromise on legalizing recreational cannabis. Under the newly signed legislation, SB 1201, the possession of cannabis by adults aged 21 and older became legal on July 1, 2022. The sale, manufacture, and cultivation of cannabis will require a license. The Department of Consumer Protection (DCP) will issue growers, retailers, manufacturers, and delivery services licenses. Social equity applicants would be entitled to 50% of each license type. Commercial cannabis sales are projected to begin in May of 2022, but the bill does not specify an exact date. Additionally, under this bill, social equity applicants would have early access to obtain licenses to become retailers, cultivators, micro-cultivators, and other positions created in the newly legal market.
WHAT IS CONNECTICUT'S CANNABIS LICENSING TIMELINE & CANNABIS APPLICATION PROCESS?
Connecticut is not currently accepting cannabis business license applications at this time. Point7 will provide an update when the legislature allows otherwise. Stay tuned by subscribing to our newsletter, the Cannabis Industry Weekly Rollup.
WHAT IS THE HISTORY OF CANNABIS IN CONNECTICUT?
In June 2011, after a close vote in the Senate and a 90-57 vote in the House, Governor Malloy signed legislation decriminalizing cannabis possession. Governor Malloy said, “Let me make it clear- we are legalizing the use of cannabis. There is no question the state’s criminal justice resources could be more effectively utilized for convicting, incarcerating, and supervising violent and more serious offenders.” Governor Malloy is clearly stating his advocacy for the legalization of cannabis. Although recreational cannabis is decriminalized, possession offenses are subject to fines ranging from $150-500 for under one-half ounce to $2,000 and a possible one-year jail sentence for possession of more than one-half ounce.
One year after decriminalization, Governor Malloy signed into law HB5389, legalizing medical cannabis in Connecticut. Afterwhich, Chapter 120f, An Act Concerning the Palliative Use of Marijuana, was added to the Connecticut General Statutes. This initiative made the Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection (DCP) the state’s regulatory body for medical cannabis. Under this law, a patient may possess up to two and one-half ounces or 56.7 grams per month unless their physician recommends a lesser amount.. Prohibited under HB 5389 is the ability to grow in-home plants.
DOES CONNECTICUT HAVE A HEMP PROGRAM?
Connecticut hemp cultivation and processing is legal with a valid growers license from the Connecticut Department of Agriculture. For more information about the hemp application, check the On-Line Application at this link.
ARE YOU PREPARING FOR THE CONNECTICUT CANNABIS MARKET?
Although Connecticut cannabis proponents have failed in their attempts to legalize recreational cannabis in the past, the momentum for reform on recreational cannabis remains strong within the state. Governor Lamont voiced his support during his February State of the State address, speaking on his work with chairmen of key legislative committees to draft legislation that would legalize cannabis for a statewide recreational, adult-use market. During these early stages of development, there are many ways to support the cannabis movement within your state. Contact Point7 to learn the steps you can take to ensure readiness when recreational passes and licenses become available.