Cannabis Sales Begin in Connecticut
Governor Ned Lamont has said that the first legal retail sales in Connecticut of adult-use cannabis to all adults aged 21 and over began Jan. 10, 2023, at several retailers that have been licensed to sell the products.
The opening of the adult-use cannabis market in Connecticut marks the start of an expanded cannabis industry that prioritizes the safe and equitable regulation of adult-use cannabis, as well as the preservation of the medical marijuana market, which continues to serve nearly 50,000 patients in the state. The law implementing these measures was signed by Governor Lamont in 2021 and contains comprehensive reforms addressing equity, criminal justice, public health, and public safety.
This new industry is expected to bring hundreds of new, good-paying jobs to Connecticut as businesses continue to open and expand, including work in production and jobs directly handling cannabis products, as well as industry support like technical jobs, administrative and information technology positions, and security.
The law takes a comprehensive approach to promoting social equity, focused on the neighborhoods most impacted by the war on drugs. It provides for expungement of past cannabis-related crimes and reserves half of all cannabis business licenses for people from impacted neighborhoods. In addition, more than half of the revenue from cannabis sales will be dedicated to a new fund that will be invested in those neighborhoods.
“Today marks a turning point in the injustices caused by the war on drugs, most notably now that there is a legal alternative to the dangerous, unregulated, underground market for cannabis sales,” Governor Lamont said. “Together with our partners in the legislature and our team of professionals at the Department of Consumer Protection, we’ve carefully crafted a securely regulated market that prioritizes public health, public safety, social justice, and equity. I look forward to continuing our efforts to ensure that this industry remains inclusive and safe as it develops.”
“An old conviction for a low-level cannabis possession shouldn’t hold someone back from pursuing their career, housing, professional, and educational aspirations,” Lt. Governor Susan Bysiewicz said. “Governor Lamont and I welcome this change to help people regain their freedom and the opportunity to pursue the careers and jobs they rightfully deserve.”
The Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection has overseen the regulation of the adult-use cannabis market in the state, ensuring that it prioritizes public health and safety.
“This is an exciting day for Connecticut and our team at the Department of Consumer Protection, which has worked tirelessly to stand up this safe, well-regulated and equitable new market,” Consumer Protection Commissioner Michelle H. Seagull said. “We will continue to ensure the patients in our medical marijuana program receive the standard of care and service they have come to expect, and as always, we encourage all adults who choose to purchase and use cannabis to do so responsibly.”
The Social Equity Council was created by that same law that Governor Lamont signed in 2021 and has been tasked with ensuring the adult-use cannabis market is grown equitably and to bring funds from the program back to the communities hit hardest by the war on drugs.
“The opening of this new marketplace is an important milestone in the work of the Social Equity Council and a culmination of a lot of hard work over the past year,” Paul O. Robertson, deputy commissioner of the Department of Economic and Community Development and chair of the Social Equity Council, said. “In my role as chair, I will be focused on ensuring we fully capitalize on this opportunity to lend a helping hand to those negatively impacted by the war on drugs.”
There are three taxes on the retail sale of cannabis, including the state’s usual 6.35% sales tax, a 3% sales tax dedicated to the city or town where the sale occurs, and a tax based on THC content that will cost approximately 10% to 15% of the sale price.
For information about Adult-Use Cannabis, visit ct.gov/cannabis.