Connecticut will be the 18th US state to legalise recreational cannabis use

18th June 2021

Following the passing of adult-use cannabis legislation, the governor of Connecticut announced that he would sign the bill to put an end to “this terrible period of incarceration and injustice”, making the North-Eastern state 18th jurisdiction to legalise the recreational use of cannabis.

As Forbes reports, the new law will legalise possession and cultivation of cannabis for adults aged 21 or older. Maybe, more importantly, it also will “expunge” low-level criminal records in connection to cannabis.

The tax revenue generated from sales will be used to help the state’s communities that were hit the most by “cannabis prohibition.”

Governor Ned Lamont said in a statement: “The war on cannabis, which was at its core a war on people in Black and Brown communities, not only caused injustices and increased disparities in our state, it did little to protect public health and safety.

“[Having adult-use being legalised] will help eliminate the dangerous unregulated market and support a new, growing sector of our economy which will create jobs.”

Multiple reports suggest that the state’s cannabis market will grow exponentially over the next few years.

One projects that it could reach $725 million in annual sales by the end of 2025 – currently, it stands around $143 million.

Governor Lamont added: “The states surrounding us already, or soon will have legal adult-use markets.

“By allowing adults to possess cannabis, regulating its sale we’re not only effectively modernising our laws and addressing inequities, we’re keeping Connecticut economically competitive with our neighbouring states.”

If we count Connecticut, then the list of states where recreational use has been legalised is:

  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Illinois
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Montana
  • Nevada
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • Oregon
  • Vermont
  • Virginia
  • Washington

In addition, a number of US territories and the capital, Washington D.C., also allow the recreational use of cannabis.

Reacting to the news in Connecticut, Karen O’Keefe, the director of state policies for the Marijuana Policy Project, said in a statement: “This year has shown us that state legislatures are capable of rising to the challenge to end cannabis prohibition.

“A supermajority of Americans have made it clear that they favour a system of legalisation and regulation rather than the status quo. This victory will add to the momentum towards cannabis policy reform in other states and at the federal level.”

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