Here’s the Latest on Cannabis Legalization Efforts in Connecticut

Cannabis Blog
May 14, 2021

Connecticut is often talked about as one of the next dominos to fall in terms of legalizing recreational cannabis. But time may be running out to accomplish that in 2021, with less than a month left in this legislative session. Here is where things stand and what needs to happen for Connecticut to legalize cannabis in 2021.

Right now, there are two competing bills that have passed committees in the legislature. The first is sponsored by Rep. Robyn Porter (D) and passed the Labor and Public Employees Committee back in March. The second is a bill backed by Gov. Ned Lamont (D) that cleared the Judiciary Committee last month after it was amended. Specifically, several new social equity provisions were added to the Gov. Lamont-backed bill following criticism from social equity advocates. While it remains unclear how close the parties really are to resolving their differences and agreeing to terms on a bill, there appears to be some reason for optimism. House Majority Leader Jason Rojas (D) recently said lawmakers are having “great conversations” and “making progress” with the governor’s office as they try to reconcile the competing bills. Further, the June 9 end of the legislative session might not be the last date to pass a legalization bill this year. “It’s the kind of thing that I think you could always go into overtime if you had to,” said House Speaker Matt Ritter (D). “We’d all be comfortable coming to special session for that issue.”

We remain optimistic that Connecticut will find a way to pass legislation this year, even if that means convening a special session. After New Jersey and New York recently legalized recreational cannabis, the pressure on lawmakers and the governor to agree on a bill is mounting. But if the competing interests prove too much to overcome, we expect legalization will go to the voters (and pass) in a referendum in 2022. That would be unfortunate, however, as that would likely make the path to legalization a much longer process. Please follow our blog to stay up to date on Connecticut legalization efforts and other developments in the cannabis industry.

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