Cannabis Information for CT Municipalities
Cannabis is now legal in Connecticut for adults age 21 and older. Learn more about preventing underage use and enhancing public safety under the new law.
How Will Underage Cannabis Use Be Prevented?
Cannabis products must not be designed to appeal to those under 21:
- Product types that appeal to children are banned.
- Cannabis strains and brands may not be given names that encourage the use of cannabis by those under age 21.
- Cannabis products must follow strict packaging and labeling standards, including:
- Products must be in child-safe, tamper-resistant packaging.
- Products must be conspicuously stamped with “THC,” taking up at least 25% of space on the package’s largest side.
- Packaging must also include standard symbols showing that the product contains THC and is not for those under age 21.
Cannabis cannot be sold or provided to those under 21:
- Retailers must take “commercially and technologically reasonable measures” to verify customers’ identity.
- For orders placed online, the purchaser must provide their date of birth. The purchaser must show an ID verifying their age upon delivery.
- If an employee or delivery person feels that a customer’s age is in question, they should take the customer’s photograph, make a photocopy of their license, and refuse the sale.
Those allowing underage cannabis use face fines and punishments:
- Selling or providing cannabis to a person under 21 is now a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in prison and/or a fine up to $2,000.
- Allowing someone under 21 to loiter at a cannabis store is punishable with a $1,000 fine on the first offense; subsequent offenses are a Class B misdemeanor.
- A person under 21 lying about their age or using a fake ID to buy cannabis will be a Class D misdemeanor.
Rigorous advertising restrictions have been placed on cannabis products:
- Cannabis-related ads are prohibited on websites except those that verify the user is 21+.
- All other cannabis-related advertising is banned on TV, radio, internet, print, and billboards unless the advertiser has reliable evidence that at least 90% of the audience reached is age 21 or older.
- Cannabis-related ads may not be placed:
- Within 500 feet of elementary & secondary school grounds, recreation centers, childcare centers, playgrounds, public parks, libraries.
- In and on public & private vehicles, at bus stops, taxi stands, transportation waiting areas, train stations, and airports.
- Cannabis-related ads must include this text, taking up at least 10% of ad space: “Do not use cannabis if you are under 21 years of age. Keep cannabis out of the reach of children.”
The state will continue working to understand and prevent underage cannabis use:
The Alcohol and Drug Policy Council, Connecticut Department of Mental Health & Addiction Services and the Connecticut Department of Children & Families have been tasked with reporting back to the governor by January 1, 2023:
- They must report how the legalization of cannabis has impacted those under age 21, including their education, mental health, and social / emotional health.
- They must make recommendations for preventing use by those under 21, including additional product restrictions and prevention campaigns.
- They must also recommend further efforts to promote public health, mitigate cannabis misuse, reduce the risk of addiction, and effectively treat addiction in those under age 21.
Municipal Revenue from the Adult Use Cannabis Tax
In addition to the 6.35% state cannabis tax, consumers pay a 3% municipal sales tax on cannabis (medical cannabis is exempt from this tax). The tax is collected from consumers by the retailer or micro-cultivator at the time of purchase, and is remitted to the town.
The town must use this revenue for:
- Streetscape improvements and other neighborhood developments in communities where cannabis / hybrid retailers or micro-cultivators are located
- Education programs or youth employment & training programs in town
- Services for town residents who were released from custody, probation, or parole
- Mental health or addiction services
- Youth service bureaus & municipal juvenile review boards
- Community civic engagement efforts
How will the legalization of cannabis impact public safety?
The law includes provisions for safe driving:
- Police officers must be trained in Advanced Roadside Impaired Driving Enforcement (ARIDE).
- Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) evaluations can result in license suspensions for people who drive under the influence of cannabis.
Towns can enhance public safety during the opening of new cannabis retailers:
In the first 30 days after a cannabis or hybrid retailer opens, towns may charge them up to $50,000 for any necessary municipal costs for public safety services related to the opening (e.g., for directing traffic).
Cannabis products on the market must adhere to strict standards:
- All products must be lab-tested, including for heavy metals, pesticide chemical residue, and total THC content.
- Edible cannabis products are limited to 5 milligrams of THC per serving, with a max of 100 mg for packages that contain multiple servings.
- Most other cannabis products are subject to a potency cap as well.
How does the new law impact employers?
Employers may continue to prohibit employees from possessing and/or using cannabis:
- During work hours,
- On employer premises, and/or
- While using employer’s equipment.
If the employer has a written policy in effect, they may prohibit the use of cannabis and continue to drug-test applicants. (Some industries are exempt from needing a written policy.)