Connecticut Cannabis Law

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A Guide to Connecticut Cannabis Laws

Residents over the age of 21 can legally possess and consume marijuana.

Recreational marijuana became legal in Connecticut on July 1, 2021, which makes the use and possession of small amounts of recreational marijuana legal for adults.

Possession and use of up to 1.5 oz of cannabis is legal. Connecticut residents may also store up to 5 oz in a locked container at home or transport it in a locked glovebox or trunk. Retail sales are not expected to begin until late 2022.

Individuals will be able to grow marijuana, but it will be limited this year to those with medical marijuana cards, ages 18 and older, who will be allowed to grow up to six plants beginning October 1, 2021. Plants must be grown indoors.

Purchasing legal marijuana will not be available in retail stores until mid-2022 or later, as the state will have to set up a licensing process for retailers and those large- scale growers.

Possession – Personal Use

Up to 1.5 oz in public

  • Penalty: No penalty
    • Incarceration: None
    • o   Max. Fine: $0

Up to 5 oz in private residence

  • Penalty: No penalty
    • Incarceration: None
    • o   Max. Fine: $0

1.5 oz or more in public

  • Penalty: Misdemeanor
    • Incarceration: 1 year
    • Max. Fine: $2,000

Distribution and Cultivation

Cultivation of up to 3 mature and 3 immature plants (first offense)

  • Penalty: Written warning
    • Incarceration: None
    • Max. Fine: $0

Cultivation of up to 3 mature and 3 immature plants (second offense)

  • Penalty: Civil Offense
    • Incarceration: N/A
    • o   Max. Fine: $500

Cultivation of up to 3 mature and 3 immature plants (subsequent offense)

  • Penalty: Misdemeanor
    • Incarceration: N/A
    • o   Max. Fine: $500

Less than 1 kg (first offense)

  • Penalty: Felony
    • Incarceration: 7 years
    • o   Max. Fine: $25,000

Less than 1 kg (subsequent offense)

  • Penalty: Felony
    • Incarceration: 15 years
    • o   Max. Fine: $100,000

1kg or more (first offense)

  • Penalty: Felony
    • Incarceration: 5-20 years
    • o   Max. Fine: $25,000

1kg or more (subsequent offense)

  • Penalty: Felony
    • Incarceration: 10-25 years
    • Max. Fine: $100,000

Hash and Concentrates

Penalties for hashish are the same as for marijuana.

Paraphernalia

With the intent to use it to cultivate, distribute or inhale/ingest less than ½ oz

  • Penalty: Civil Infraction
    • Incarceration: N/A
    • o   Max. Fine: $300

With the intent to use it to cultivate, distribute or inhale/ingest more than ½ oz

  • Penalty: Misdemeanor
    • Incarceration: 3 months
    • o   Max. Fine: $500

Distributing paraphernalia or possessing with the intent to distribute

  • Penalty: Misdemeanor
    • Incarceration: 1 year
    • Max. Fine: $2,000

Distributing paraphernalia or possessing within 1500 feet of an elementary/middle school is punishable by an additional 1 year of imprisonment.

Forfeiture

Any item used for the cultivation or distribution of marijuana is subject to forfeiture.

Smoking

  • The new bill prohibits smoking of marijuana in state parks, workplaces, hotels and within 25 feet of an entrance. Communities with a population of 50,000 or more, will have to set up one public place for individuals to be able smoke, but municipalities can ban retail sales through zoning and regulate public use, just like they can do currently with the smoking of tobacco.

Gifting Cannabis

  • People with a bona fide social relationship may give cannabis to one another if the gift is made without a promise of payment or exchange of other goods and services and is not associated with a commercial transaction.
  • People with a bona fide social relationship may give cannabis to one another if the gift is made without a promise of payment or exchange of other goods and services and is not associated with a commercial transaction.
  • The definition of “sale” under the adult-use cannabis and controlled substances laws includes transfer without compensation. It is illegal to give away delta-8 products if they have more than 0.3 percent THC on a dry-weight basis.

Growing

  • Medical marijuana patients 18 years old and older will be able to grow up to 3 mature and 3 immature plants at home starting October 1, 2021, with a cap of 12 total plants per household. All adults over age 21 will be able to grow under the same rules starting July 1, 2023.
  • Effective March 10, 2022, these medical marijuana program policies and procedures effectuate the Home Grow medical marijuana program provisions of Public Act 21-1.
  • Medical marijuana patients 18 years old and older will be able to grow up to 3 mature and 3 immature plants at home starting October 1, 2021, with a cap of 12 total plants per household.

Municipalities Cannabis Guide

  • A municipality must approve zoning to allow for cannabis establishments, including retailers and micro-cultivators, to operate in their community.
  • Each municipality has the authority to establish restrictions on the proximity of cannabis establishments to any of the following: churches, public or parochial schools, convents, charitable institutions supported by private or public funds, hospitals or veterans’ homes or any camps, barracks or flying fields of the armed forces.
  • For a cannabis establishment to operate, it must have zoning approval from local authorities.

Selling

  • You may not sell products that exceed 0.3 percent THC on a dry weight basis. These products are considered cannabis and can only be sold in the adult-use market by a licensed retailer. Sales of cannabis products from licensed retailers are not expected to begin in Connecticut until late 2022.
  • Sales could begin in late 2022. The supply chain must be entirely licensed before sales can begin, including stores, testing labs, and growers, and there must be enough growing capacity to supply the retail market.

Transporters, Delivery Service

  • A licensed transporter may deliver cannabis and cannabis products from between cannabis establishments.
  • A licensed delivery service may deliver cannabis and cannabis products from certain cannabis establishments to consumers or qualifying patients and caregivers.

Retailer

  • Retailers are licensed to purchase cannabis from producers, cultivators, micro- cultivators, product manufacturers and food and beverage manufacturers and to sell cannabis to consumers and research programs.

Product Packager

  • A licensed product packager shall be responsible for ensuring that cannabis products are labeled and packaged in compliance with all state laws, regulations and policies.

Product Manufacturer

  • A licensed product manufacturer may perform cannabis extractions, chemical synthesis and all other manufacturing activities. A product manufacturer may sell, transfer or transport its own products to a cannabis establishment, laboratory or research program, provided such transportation is performed by utilizing its own employees or a transporter. A product manufacturer may not deliver any cannabis to a consumer, qualifying patient or caregiver directly or through a delivery service.

Micro-cultivator

  • Micro-Cultivators are licensed to engage in the cultivation, growing and propagation of the cannabis plant at an establishment that is between 2,000 square feet and 10,000 square feet of grow space, prior to any expansion authorized by the Department of Consumer Protection commissioner. Once licensed, the micro- cultivator may expand up to 25,000 square feet or convert to a cultivator if they expand to more than 25,000 square feet of grow space.

Hybrid Retailer

  • A licensed hybrid retailer may sell cannabis and cannabis products to adult consumers over 21 years of age as well as medical marijuana products to qualifying patients and caregivers.

Cultivator

  • A licensed cultivator may cultivate, grow and propagate cannabis at an establishment containing not less than 15,000 square feet of grow space.

Advertising Guidelines

  • Only cannabis establishments licensed in Connecticut may advertise cannabis or services related to cannabis in this state.
  • Billboard advertisers had to prove at least 90% of the audience is reasonably expected to be over the age of 21.
  • Billboard ads cannot be displayed between 6 a.m. and 11 p.m.
  • Businesses or individuals that certify medical marijuana patients are not licensed cannabis establishments and may not advertise cannabis-related services.
  • These restrictions apply to all advertising methods, including television, radio, billboards, outdoor signage, print publications, Internet, mobile applications, social media, or other electronic communications such as emails.
  • There shall be no direct or indirect cooperative advertising between or among two or more of the following: a producer, dispensary facility personnel, or physician where such advertising has the purpose or effect of steering or influencing patient or caregiver choice with regard to their selection of a physician, dispensary or marijuana product.
  • An advertisement for marijuana or any marijuana product shall not contain:
  • Any statement that is false or misleading in any material particular or is otherwise in violation of the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act, section 42-110b et seq., of the Connecticut General Statutes;
    • any statement that falsely disparages a competitor’s products;
    • any statement, design, or representation, picture or illustration that is obscene or indecent;
    • any statement, design, representation, picture or illustration that encourages or represents the use of marijuana for a condition other than a debilitating medical condition;
    • any statement, design, representation, picture or illustration that encourages or represents the recreational use of marijuana;
    • any statement, design, representation, picture or illustration related to the safety or efficacy of marijuana unless supported by substantial evidence or substantial clinical data;
    • any statement, design, representation, picture or illustration portraying anyone under the age of 18, objects suggestive of the presence of anyone under the age of 18, or contains the use of a figure, symbol or language that is customarily associated with anyone under the age of 18;
    • any offer of a prize or award to a qualifying patient, primary caregiver or physician related to he purchase of marijuana or a certification for the use of marijuana; or
    • any statement that indicates or implies that the product or entity in the advertisement has been approved or endorsed by the commissioner, department, the State of Connecticut or any person or entity associated with the State of Connecticut.
      • Any advertisement for marijuana or a marijuana product shall be submitted to the commissioner at the same time as, or prior to, the dissemination of the advertisement.
      • The submitter of the advertisement shall provide the following information in addition to the advertisement itself:
        • A cover letter that:
          • Provides the following subject line: Medical marijuana advertisement review Package for a proposed advertisement for [Brand Name];
          • Provides a brief description of the format and expected distribution of the proposed advertisement; and
          • Provides the submitter’s name, title, address, telephone number, fax number, and email address;
  • An annotated summary of the proposed advertisement showing every claim being made in the advertisement and which references support each claim;
  • Verification that a person identified in an advertisement as an actual patient or health care practitioner is an actual patient or health care practitioner and not a model or actor;
    • Verification that a spokesperson who is represented as a real patient is indeed an actual patient;
      • Verification that an official translation of a foreign language advertisement is accurate;
      • Annotated references to support disease or epidemiology information, cross-referenced to the advertisement summary; and
      • A final copy of the advertisement, including a video where applicable, in an acceptable format.
        • Advertising packages that are missing any of the elements in subsection (g) of this section, or that fail to follow the specific details for submissions, shall be considered incomplete. If the department receives an incomplete package, it shall so notify the submitter.

The commissioner may:

  • Require a specific disclosure be made in the advertisement in a clear and conspicuous manner if the commissioner determines that the advertisement would be false or misleading without such a disclosure; or
  • Make recommendations with respect to changes that are:
    • Necessary to protect the public health, safety and welfare; or
    • Consistent with dispensing information for the product under review.
    • If appropriate and if information exists, recommend statements for inclusion in the advertisement to address the specific efficacy of the drug as it relates to specific disease states, disease symptoms and population groups.

Sec. 21a-408-67. Marijuana advertising; requirements for true statements and fair balance

  • All advertisements for marijuana or marijuana products that make a statement relating to side effects, contraindications and effectiveness shall present a true statement of such information. When applicable, advertisements broadcast through media such as radio, television, or other electronic media shall include such information in the audio or audio and visual parts of the presentation.
  • False or misleading information in any part of the advertisement will not be corrected by the inclusion of a true statement in another distinct part of the advertisement.
  • An advertisement does not satisfy the requirement that it present a “true statement” of information relating to side effects, consequences, contraindications, and effectiveness if it fails to present a fair balance between information relating to side effects, consequences, contraindications and effectiveness in that the information relating to effectiveness is presented in greater scope, depth, or detail than is the information relating to side effects, consequences and contraindications, taking into account all implementing factors such as typography, layout, contrast, headlines, paragraphing, white space, and any other techniques apt to achieve emphasis.
  • An advertisement is false, lacking in fair balance, or otherwise misleading if it:
    • Contains a representation or suggestion that a marijuana strain, brand or product is better, more effective, useful in a broader range of conditions or patients or safer than other drugs or treatments including other marijuana strains or products, unless such a claim has been demonstrated by substantial evidence or substantial clinical experience;
    • Contains favorable information or opinions about a marijuana product previously regarded as valid but which have been rendered invalid by contrary and more credible recent information;
    • Uses a quote or paraphrase out of context or without citing conflicting information from the same source, to convey a false or misleading idea;
    • Uses a study on individuals without a debilitating medical condition without disclosing that the subjects were not suffering from a debilitating medical condition;
    • Uses data favorable to a marijuana product derived from patients treated with a different product or dosages different from those approved in Connecticut;
    • Contains favorable information or conclusions from a study that is inadequate in design, scope, or conduct to furnish significant support for such information or conclusions; or
    • Fails to provide adequate emphasis for the fact that two or more facing pages are part of the same advertisement when only one page contains information relating to side effects, consequences and contraindications.
  • No advertisement may be disseminated if the submitter of the advertisement has received information that has not been widely publicized in medical literature that the use of the marijuana product or strain may cause fatalities or serious damage.

Sec. 21a-408-68. Marijuana marketing; advertising at a dispensary facility; advertising prices

A dispensary facility shall:

  • Restrict external signage to a single sign no larger than 16 X 18 inches;
  • Not illuminate a dispensary facility sign advertising a marijuana product at any time;
  • Not advertise marijuana brand names or utilize graphics related to marijuana or paraphernalia on the exterior of the dispensary facility or the building in which the dispensary facility is located; and
  • Not display marijuana and paraphernalia so as to be clearly visible from the exterior of a dispensary facility.
  • A producer shall not advertise the price of its marijuana except that it may make a price list available to a dispensary facility.

Prohibited activities for those advertising cannabis or cannabis-related services include, but are not limited to:

  • Advertising that targets or is designed to appeal to individuals who are under the age of 21.
  • Advertising using any image, or any other visual representation, of the cannabis plant or any part of the cannabis plant, including, but not limited to, the leaf of the cannabis plant.
  • Advertising by means of an electronic or illuminated billboard between the hours of 6 a.m. and 11 p.m.
  • Advertising where less than 90 percent of the audience for the advertisement is reasonably expected to be 21 years of age or older, based on reliable evidence.
  • Advertising using location-based devices such as cell phones. Exceptions exist for mobile apps.
  • Sponsoring or advertising at, or in connection with, charitable, sports, musical, artistic, cultural, social, or other similar events, unless the cannabis establishment has reliable evidence that at least 90 percent of the audience will be 21 or older.
  • Advertising cannabis or cannabis-related products visible to the public within 1,500 feet of an elementary or secondary school ground, recreation center or facility, childcare center, playground, public park, library, or house of worship.
  • Advertising on or in public or private vehicles or at bus stops, taxi stands, transportation waiting areas, train stations, airports, or other similar transportation venues.
  • Operating websites that advertise cannabis or cannabis-related products without verifying that users are 21 years of age or older.

Establishing a Business

  • A municipality must approve zoning to allow for cannabis establishments, including retailers and micro-cultivators, to operate in their community. For information about zoning restrictions or approvals in a particular municipality, please contact that municipality directly.
    • Formal proof of business creation, such as registration with the State, is not required for the lottery application, and will only be required of applicants that are selected in the lottery and progress to the additional stages of licensure.
    • Evidence of a right to occupy the location at which the cannabis establishment will be located is a requirement of the final stage of licensure and will be required before a final license is issued. It is not necessary to indicate the establishment’s location in the lottery application.
    • Each municipality has the authority to establish restrictions on the proximity of cannabis establishments to any of the following: churches, public or parochial schools, convents, charitable institutions supported by private or public funds, hospitals or veterans’ homes or any camps, barracks or flying fields of the armed forces.

Packaging and Labeling

  • For products below the 0.3 percent dry-weight THC limit, all federal and state laws concerning labeling and packaging still apply to any food, drugs and dietary supplements, such as the Connecticut Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act.
    • If your product label states a total THC or THC content of less than 0.3 percent on a dry-weight basis, your product likely complies with the law.

Taxes

  • There will be three (3) taxes on retail sale of cannabis: the state’s usual 6.35 percent sales tax, a 3 percent sales tax dedicated to the city or town where the sale occurs, and a tax based on THC content that will cost approximately 10 to15 percent of the sale price.
    • Medical marijuana: Purchases are only subject to the statewide retail sales tax of 6.35%.

Consumption

  • on-site consumption of cannabis (including cannabis products) is not allowed at cannabis establishments.
    • This legislation imposes strong requirements for product safety. Products will have to be lab tested and will have strict packaging and labeling standards.
    • To incorporate cannabis as an ingredient into food and beverages, you need a food and beverage manufacturer license from the Department of Consumer Protection.
    • Adults age 21 and over can legally possess and consume up to 1.5 ounces of marijuana. Medical patients can each grow up to three mature and three immature plants at home, with a maximum of 12 total plants per household; recreational consumers cannot grow until July 1, 2023. Connecticut residents may also store and transport up to five ounces in a locked container. Furthermore, dispensaries only accept Connecticut-issued medical cards.
    • Cannabis usage is prohibited in state parks, on beaches, and on the water. Individual towns may create their own policies, but in general, you can’t smoke marijuana in any place where you can’t smoke tobacco. Property owners, lodgings, landlords, and rental companies may ban the use and possession of marijuana on their premises.

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