Marijuana Officially Legal in Connecticut

     Recreational marijuana sales in Connecticut became legal on Jan. 10 for adults ages 21 and over. Governor Ned Lamont announced that the sales would start at 10 a.m. that day at various locations that are licensed to sell the products.

     The Department of Consumer Protection gave permission to the state’s nine already existing medical marijuana dispensaries to start selling recreationally to qualifying adults.

     Kelly Considine is an adjunct professor in the Chemistry department at Sacred Heart.

     “I think the legalization of marijuana in Conn. is a good step for the state from both an economic and legal standpoint,” said Considine.

     Seven of the dispensaries approved began sales immediately including the stores in Brandford, Meriden, Montville, New Haven, Newington, Stamford, and Willimantic. The other two are located in Danbury and Torrington, but their opening dates are tentative.

     “By purchasing marijuana from a dispensary, consumers know exactly what strain they are getting, and employees can help them find the products that work best for them,” said Considine.

     It’s expected that nearly 40 additional dispensaries will open in Connecticut by the end of the year.

     “My fear is that individuals legally purchasing cannabis will easily pass it along to the younger population resulting in an increase in marijuana usage among our youth,” said Considine.

     Connecticut’s recreational marijuana law was first passed on July 1, 2021 to make minimal amounts legal for adults. Then on Oct. 1, 2021, the law made it legal to carry up to one and a half ounces of marijuana on them personally and another five ounces in either a locked box at home or in their vehicles.

     “With the legalization of marijuana, we now not only have to worry about DUIs or DWIs, but we run the risk of seeing more drug related driving,” said Considine. 

     Beginning Jan. 1, 2022, the law will erase previous low-level marijuana charges and sentences. This year, almost 44,000 crimes have already been erased.

     “I think those imprisoned for possessing small amounts of marijuana should be freed because their actions that landed them in prison are now legal,” said Considine.  “This can help with prison overcrowding and fewer incarcerations means more money will be saved.”

     Adam Wood, the president of the Connecticut Cannabis Chamber of Commerce, has estimated the cannabis industry to bring over 10,000 new jobs to the state in the next few years.

     He also believes it’ll be a source of revenue to Connecticut and make millions of dollars that can be used to help communities greatly affected by the war on drugs.

     “The legalization of cannabis could potentially help decrease opioid drug addictions and deaths associated with them,” said Considine. “I think it can also reduce crime, raise tax revenue, lower criminal justice expenditures, improve public health, and stimulate the economy, while reducing violence and trafficking associated with illegal drug trade.”

     On the opening day alone, Connecticut made over $250,000 from legal recreational marijuana sales.

     “Regarding the financial nature of Connecticut, I think there’ll only be positive outcomes from the legalization of marijuana,” said Considine.  “For instance, to enforce laws, especially those related to marijuana, costs several billions of dollars per year, and those costs will drop significantly now that it’s been legalized.”

The next part of the bill will be implemented on July 2 and will permit adults to grow up to six marijuana plants indoors only. Until then, only those 18 years old and up with medical marijuana cards can grow up to six plants indoors.

     “I don’t agree with allowing individuals to grow their own marijuana because it could hinder the state’s revenue which could go a long way in helping fund various projects such as fixing the state’s infrastructure,” said Considine.  “If anything, medical marijuana card holders should be the ones allowed to grow their own plants to help eliminate the financial burden that comes along with their disease.”

About the author

News Editor

Leave a Reply