All of the state’s neighbors – New York, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island – have launched their own adult use industries.
In neighboring Rhode Island, adult use sales began in early December, and New York’s first adult use sales are expected by the end of 2022, too.
The state will award 12 retail licenses through lottery selection, with 6 allocated for equity applicants.
Lamont, who has for years urged lawmakers to legalize cannabis, said he will sign the bill.
Gov. Ned Lamont has for years called for a regional approach to legal adult use cannabis, alongside states like New York, where cannabis also became legal this year.
A hearing on Friday stretched more than 12 hours and often focused on social and racial justice, home cultivation, and the potential for increased youth use and impaired driving.
Last year, Gov. Lamont’s legalization bill was derailed by COVID-19. This year, he’s putting his plan to the legislature again, and, for the first time, including the revenue in his budget.
The state’s general assembly has adjourned early. If and when lawmakers reconvene for a special session this summer, legalization is likely to be a low priority.
Connecticut is surrounded by states that have legalized cannabis, or plan to. “We can't stick our heads in the sand,” said Governor Ned Lamont’s senior adviser.
Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont Pledges Regional Approach to Cannabis Legalization in State of the State
Lamont praised “coordinated regional regulation,” while Pennsylvania’s governor left cannabis completely out of his speech.
While the bill is focused on how to spend cannabis-generated tax dollars, Smart Approaches to Marijuana and others turned a Senate committee hearing into a broader legalization debate.
During the six-hour hearing, officials and stakeholders discussed labor rights, equity provisions, home grows, and the influence of elected officials in the industry.