CT Suggests Recreational Cannabis Changes

Legislators in Connecticut Propose Changes to the Recreational Cannabis Program

The 2023 legislative session in Connecticut is offering a preview of potential new regulations for the state’s recreational cannabis industry.  Lawmakers are proposing a variety of marijuana-related bills that aim to change the way cannabis licenses are issued, further decriminalize the drug, and increase safety labeling requirements. 

House Majority Leader Jason Rojas is proposing changes to the application fees for cannabis licenses, which would be on a graduated scale, and allowing cannabis businesses to deduct certain expenses from their state tax returns. 

The General Law Committee plans to examine further regulation of cannabis, provide hemp farmers with an expedited pathway to grow recreational cannabis, and consider recommendations from the Social Equity Council. 

State Senator Norm Needleman has introduced a proposal to allow hemp farmers to convert their operations to cultivate cannabis. A bill introduced by state Representative Anthony Nolan aims to reduce sentences for people convicted of selling marijuana. 

Republicans led by House Minority Leader Vincent Candelora are recommending further regulations such as prohibiting cannabis consumption in locations where alcohol consumption is prohibited, banning the sale of edible products, and requiring the Department of Consumer Protection to review and approve each cannabis product type and its dosage.

Two Republican proposals aim to increase law enforcement’s ability to enforce cannabis laws. The first bill would allow officers to use the smell of cannabis as probable cause for a search, which is currently not permitted under the state’s adult-use cannabis law. The second proposal would allow officers to stop a vehicle if the driver is suspected of smoking, inhaling, or ingesting cannabis while driving. Additionally, the proposal would require the Police Officer Standards and Training Council to investigate the use of saliva and mouth swab tests for detecting cannabis use by drivers and consider implementing these tests in the future.

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