Gov. Ned Lamont, a Democrat, signed legislation Tuesday making recreational marijuana
use legal in the state starting July 1.
Connecticut, with his signature, becomes the 19th state to legalize recreational marijuana use, joining neighbors New York
and New Jersey
, which passed legislation earlier this year.
The new law
ages 21 and older to carry up to 1.5 ounces of marijuana on their person, and up to 5 ounces secured in their homes or cars. It also allows medical marijuana
users in the state to grow up to six plants
at home, while recreational users will be able to do so starting in July 2023.
The bill also aims to alleviate the disproportionate effects of the country's decades-long drug war on communities of color by granting half of all initial licenses to grow marijuana commercially to "social equity" applicants, and tax dollars from cannabis
sales will flow into underserved communities to provide economic opportunities such as business
capital and education
The state anticipates that marijuana-related revenue will eventually total more than $70 million per fiscal year.
Certain previous marijuana-related convictions, such as those for possessing or selling up to 4 ounces of marijuana, will be expunged.
“For decades, the cannabis war has caused injustices and disparities while doing little to protect public health
and safety,” Lamont said in a statement. “The law that I signed today begins to right some of those wrongs by creating a comprehensive framework for a regulated market that prioritizes public health, public safety, criminal justice
, and equity.”
Lamont added that police
officers will be trained in “the most recent techniques” for detecting impaired driving
. Legal marijuana use is restricted to private homes and other areas where cigarette smoking
is permitted, with the exception of cars.
Prospect, Connecticut, has already taken action to protest
the bill, with the town's planning and zoning commission voting
last week to prohibit cannabis sellers from opening shop in the small town.