Connecticut Senate passes adult-use marijuana bill; House up next

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The Connecticut Senate, by a close 19-17 margin, passed a bill early Tuesday that would legalize recreational marijuana, with sales expected to begin in spring 2022.

The state House of Representatives still must pass Senate Bill 1118 before the legislative session ends Wednesday.

Gov. Ned Lamont, a Democrat, has said he would sign the measure.

MJBizDaily has projected that a Connecticut adult-use marijuana market could generate $250 million in sales in the first full year and $725 million in the fourth year.

A compromise agreement ironed out over the weekend would give social equity applicants priority status in obtaining cultivation and retail licenses.

Existing medical marijuana cultivators could apply for an adult-use license but would be required to pay a fee of $3 million, or $1.5 million if they create at least two social equity joint ventures, according to a Marijuana Policy Project summary of the nearly 300-page bill.

A prospective adult-use marijuana operator also would be required to make a “good-faith effort” to enter into a labor peace agreement with a union before receiving its final license.

Under the agreement, local jurisdictions could prohibit retail sales through zoning ordinances, but residents could petition for a local referendum on the issue.

– Jeff Smith