Governor Ned Lamont proposes a 108-page recreational marijuana bill as Connecticut debates whether marijuana should be approved or not.
The governor suggests developing a medical marijuana program in collaboration with New Jersey, Rhode Island and New York for creating a regulated and tightly controlled market.
The earliest date suggested for the legalization of the proposed bill is the 1st of July, 2022. However, this would be possible only after considering the recommendations from the Equity Commission and the Department of Consumer Protection. Suggestions on sales and regulations are currently being sought from the concerned authorities.
The 108-page bill by the governor of Connecticut covers broad topics pertaining to the legalization of recreational marijuana. This includes taxation, industry equity, possible restrictions and deciding upon the legal possession amount. The bill has further been referred to the Judiciary Committee.
Apart from recreational marijuana, the bill proposes to legalize products consisting of cannabis such as waxes, shatter, tinctures, oils, extracts, and concentrates.
“As per the bill, adults could possess up to 1.5 ounces of cannabis legally. This includes derivatives as well. This bill also proposed to legalize concentrations of THC or Tetrahydrocannabinol which is a chemical compound that results in psychoactive effects due to the drug.”
The limitations to be placed on the amount of THC permissible under the law are still being considered by the Department of Consumer Protection. The quantity would be decided once the department has carried out a thorough study by teaming up with the experts.
Connecticut and numerous other states reported a rise in lung injuries and other vaping-related illnesses in 2019. This was linked to the heightened use of the black market pertaining to THC.
Critics of the Governor’s bill claim that it doesn’t completely address the health concerns associated with marijuana. The bill specifically has not mentioned about the illegal use by teenagers.
It, however, does mention about restricting the use of toxic additives in vaping products that have been derived from cannabis. The necessary requirements that need to be imposed on any inhalation device or vaporizer will also be considered by the legal experts.
Establishing an Equity Commission
The state Department of Consumer Protection is planning to form a nine-member Equity Commission to look into the recreational marijuana legalization matter.
It would focus chiefly on encouraging and promoting complete participation in the cannabis industry by communities that have been hurt by cannabis enforcement and prohibition.
The commission would include individuals who have experience working in civil rights or social justice and also economic development. A member appointed by Black and Puerto Rican Caucus would also be inducted into the commission.
Owners of any cannabis establishments whose child or parent had been convicted or arrested for possessing, selling, manufacturing, cultivating or using marijuana may qualify as equity applicants.
Individuals who have been unemployed in the past 10 years and those who have suffered due to high poverty rates may also be treated as potential equity applications. These individuals will receive not just licensing prioritization but also would be paying lower fees.
Those who have previously been convicted for drug offenses but did not threaten physical force against another person will also be eligible for procuring a license for working in the cannabis industry.
Taxes after legalization
The taxes levied on marijuana may depend upon the type and weight for each sale to a retailer.
$1.25 per gram tax would be imposed on the sale of cannabis flowers that have been harvested, dried and processed. $0.50 would be charged per gram for sale of dry trim that covers all other parts of the plant apart from the flower.
Industrial hemp cannot be considered as cannabis trim. $0.25 per gram would be taxed on wet Cannabis. As per the bill, it is considered to be the entire harvested plant that has not undergone any trimming or drying process.