420 with CNW — Recreational Cannabis Bill Passes First Test in Connecticut

April 12, 2021 03:25:25

With more than 16 states already allowing the sale and consumption of recreational cannabis within their borders, Connecticut has now taken the first tentative steps towards establishing a legal recreational cannabis market. Last week, the state’s Judiciary Committee approved a bill that would legalize recreational cannabis with a 22 to 16 vote. Backed by Governor Ned Lamont, the legislation would legalize the sale and consumption of adult-use marijuana to individuals aged 21 and over.

In his opening remarks, Judiciary Committee Chairman Steven Stafstrom mentioned that Connecticut has already legalized and regulated drugs such as alcohol and tobacco. He stated that it is time for the state to do the same with cannabis which is “less addictive” and “less harmful” than many of the drugs the state of Connecticut allows. This comes just a month after the Labor and Public Employees Committee approved another cannabis reform proposal introduced by Rep. Robyn Porter.

Individuals aged 21 and older will be able to possess up to five ounces of cannabis at home and one and a half ounces in person, and medical cannabis patients will be allowed to grow their own cannabis at home. The bill has gone through a variety of amendments that added a series of social justice provisions since it was first introduced. According to committee chair Stafstrom, giving communities that were adversely impacted by the failed war on drugs first crack at the recreational cannabis sector has been a top priority for lawmakers working on the bill.

Consequently, 40% of the types of licenses for cannabis businesses will be set aside for businesses that qualify as social equity applicants, individuals whose lives were negatively affected by restrictive cannabis policies. To qualify, these businesses must be 51% owned by a person with a prior cannabis-related conviction, someone who is immediately related to someone with such a conviction, or an individual who lived in a community that was disproportionately affected by cannabis policing within the past 10 years.

People living on tribal land and businesses whose day-to-day management is under someone who meets any of the aforementioned criteria will also qualify for social equity. The bill would task the Department of Consumer Protection with the responsibility of regulating Connecticut’s recreational cannabis market. A state Cannabis Control Commission will develop more guidelines for issuing licenses while a Social Equity Council consisting of 12 members will formulate criteria for social equity, tax revenue allocations and licensing policy.

If the legislation passes, the department could start accepting social equity applications as well as applications from medical cannabis businesses looking to branch into the adult-use market as early as July 1.

As Connecticut makes its first moves toward establishing a legal cannabis marketplace, other states are seeing how beneficial it can be to allow licensed companies such as Gage Growth Corp. (d.b.a. Gage Cannabis) to operate within their borders in a regulated marijuana market. The benefits include job opportunities, taxes and more medical marijuana options.

NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to Gage Growth Corp. (d.b.a. Gage Cannabis) are available in the company’s newsroom at https://cnw.fm/GAGE

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