Can Residents of Connecticut Purchase and Use Recreational Marijuana?

 Posted on June 29,2022 in Criminal Defense

hartford criminal defense lawyerIn 2021, the state of Connecticut passed a law legalizing the adult use of marijuana for recreational purposes. Under this law, people over the age of 21 may possess up to 1.5 ounces of cannabis, and they are allowed to store up to five ounces in their homes in a locked container. While this has reduced the situations where people may face drug charges related to the possession of marijuana, there are a number of complications that still need to be addressed, including determining when cannabis and cannabis products will be available for purchase in the state. Because the options for legally purchasing marijuana are currently limited, those who sell the drug to others without authorization could potentially face criminal charges for drug distribution.

Complications Affecting the Legal Sale of Marijuana

While medical marijuana is available to purchase from licensed dispensaries by Connecticut residents who have medical cannabis cards, there are not currently any dispensaries or other businesses that have been authorized to sell recreational marijuana. Before retail sales can begin, all businesses involved in the supply chain must obtain the necessary licenses, including growers, testing labs, distributors, and retail stores. Certain capacity levels must also be met to meet the needs of the retail market; the law requires a total of 250,000 square feet of space in the state dedicated to growing and manufacturing cannabis.

The state is currently processing applications for licensing. While existing dispensaries or other businesses that produce marijuana for medical use may be able to convert their licenses to allow for the production and sale of both medical and recreational marijuana, they will need to pay high licensing fees. Retailers must pay fees of $1 million, and producers or manufacturers must pay fees of $3 million. However, these fees may be reduced if a business forms an “equity joint venture” with one or more people who have been disproportionately impacted by drug laws and policies. In these cases, a business must be at least 50 percent owned by one or more people who earn less than three times the median income in the state, and those owners must have lived in a “disproportionately impacted area” for at least five of the last 10 years or for at least nine years before they reached the age of 18.

Licensing fees are lower for new businesses that are seeking to enter the legal cannabis market. However, a very limited number of licenses are available. Even though more than 15,000 applications have been received, only 12 retail cannabis licenses will be issued at first. Half of these will be issued to “social equity” applicants who have been disproportionately impacted by the war on drugs. Licenses will be issued using a lottery system. In the future, additional licenses may become available based on capacity levels in the cannabis supply chain and market demand.

Contact Our Connecticut Drug Charges Attorney

While recreational marijuana is legal in Connecticut, residents have limited options for purchasing the drug. Because of this, some people may be arrested and charged with drug possession or distribution. At Woolf Law Firm, LLC, we can provide guidance in these situations, and we can help defend against any criminal charges related to marijuana or other drugs. Contact our Hartford drug crimes defense lawyer at 860-290-8690 to arrange a free consultation today.


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