Frequently Asked Questions About Cannabis in CT
Connecticut has been slow to accept cannabis as a recreational and medical product, but things are beginning to change. With the recent changes to Connecticut cannabis regulations and the questions that come with those new laws, there’s bound to be some confusion about the current legality of cannabis in the state. Here’s a compilation of all you need to know about Connecticut cannabis.
When Did Cannabis Become Legal in Connecticut?
As of 2012, cannabis has been legal for medicinal use in Connecticut. House Bill 5389 was the beginning of the Connecticut Cannabis Program, which made it possible for patients with certain conditions to apply for medical cannabis use. Cannabis could only be prescribed by qualifying physicians and came with specific restrictions. At the time, cannabis was not approved for recreational use or therapeutic use outside this small set of patients. Still, this was the first step that opened the door to reduced restrictions for cannabis in Connecticut.
Official discussion of a recreational cannabis program in Connecticut began in 2020. In the summer of 2021, Connecticut governor Ned Lamont signed a bill approving regulated use of small amounts of recreational cannabis by any legal adult in the state over the age of 21. This makes Connecticut the 19th state to legalize cannabis for recreational purposes. However, the restrictions and preparations legislators decided to put into place have made the transition to full legalization a slow process. As of January 10, 2023, recreational use of cannabis is available for purchase in designated dispensaries licensed to sell recreational cannabis.
What is the Current Cannabis Law in Connecticut?
Medical and adult-use cannabis is legal in Connecticut, allowing state constituents who are deemed eligible for the program to purchase and use cannabis, in addition to residents and visitors aged 21+. Not all dispensaries have received the hybrid dispensary license, however.
While recreational marijuana is accessible for adults, there are different limits set for their purchases at licensed dispensaries.
Can I Shop at Any Connecticut Dispensary?
Yes! When the medical program was first instituted, patients had to enroll at one dispensary location and shop only there.
Thanks to Public Act 21-1, as of October 21, 2021, Connecticut medical marijuana patients can shop at any licensed medical cannabis dispensary.
Connecticut Cannabis Frequently Asked Questions
Connecticut cannabis laws, whether recreational laws or medical laws, could use some explanation. Here are answers to several common questions surrounding the state of cannabis use in Connecticut.
What Qualifies You for Medical Cannabis in CT?
Adults are eligible for medical cannabis use in Connecticut if they have a certain ailment that qualifies as a debilitating condition under treatment by a physician, PA, or APRN with a Connecticut license. These ailments include cancer, Parkinson’s Disease, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, and motor disorders such as cerebral palsy, among many others. This large list of conditions includes over 40 ailments, but means that medical cannabis is primarily intended for patients suffering from major diseases and disorders.
Unfortunately, less-defined problems such as chronic pain must be “associated with a specified underlying chronic condition.” For children and teenagers, the list is even smaller. As a result, medical cannabis is highly regulated and restricted in Connecticut, even if the list of acceptable use cases has increased since 2012.
Who Can Purchase Medical Cannabis in Connecticut?
Patients must be a resident of the state to qualify for a medical cannabis prescription and must not be in a correctional facility or under government watch. Minors can qualify with parental or guardian permission and the permission of two physicians. Currently, adult patients or legal guardians of minor patients can purchase up to 5 oz at a qualified dispensary each month, though physicians can restrict this amount.
Are Edibles Legal in Connecticut?
Yes, edibles are legal, as are other traditional forms of cannabis. Dispensaries are currently allowed to sell readymade edibles to medical cannabis patients. All edibles must be made by an approved production facility and are subject to the same regulations and laws that apply to other bakery products.
When Will Connecticut Dispensaries Be Open for Recreational Users?
As of January 2023, Connecticut dispensaries that have received a hybrid license can now sell cannabis to adults aged 21+. Recreational shoppers can purchase up to 0.5 oz of cannabis in the form of flower, vapes, 5 mg per piece edibles, or a combination of these options.
Can I Grow My Own Cannabis in CT?
Legally, any medical user above the age of 18 or any adult aged 21+ is allowed to grow up to six plants at home, including three mature plants and three immature plants. Restrictions state that plants must be grown indoors and must remain invisible to anyone on the street. Plants must be grown at your primary residence and must be kept in a place anyone 20 years or younger cannot access.
How Much Cannabis Can Connecticut Residents Have?
Resident medical cannabis patients and adult-use consumers are allowed to carry up to 1.5 ounces of cannabis on their person at a time. Patients and recreational consumers may store up to 5 ounces in a locked container. For medical purposes, residents can purchase up to 5 ounces each month, though this amount may increase in special cases as noted by approved physicians.
Where Can CT Residents Use Cannabis?
In general, state regulations are such that if you can’t smoke or vape in a specific place, you can’t use cannabis in that place, either. Currently, this means that cannabis use is prohibited in most public spaces, including state beaches and state parks. Otherwise, each city has set individual laws regarding where cannabis is allowed to be used, and at-home use may be subject to landlord regulations. Check with your local government if you have any specific questions about local cannabis laws.
Are There Restrictions on Cannabis Products?
Cannabis products come in a wide variety of forms, some more potent than others. The most notable restrictions are for recreational shoppers.
Adults 21+ can purchase up to 0.5 oz of cannabis in one visit. While this limit is in place, they can possess up to 1.5 oz of cannabis in public. This can be all flower, or a combination of flower and extracts like vapes, though note, macrodose options such as concentrates and edibles over 5 mg are not available to recreational consumers.
What is a “Disproportionately Impacted Area”?
The same act that legalized cannabis also established a Social Equity Council. This occurred because a major factor behind the legalization of cannabis was to help communities that were targeted heavily—some unfairly so—during the war on drugs. These areas are known as “Disproportionately Impacted Areas,” and a primary goal of modern cannabis regulation is to “promote and encourage full participation in the cannabis industry” within these areas.
In other words, now that cannabis is no longer an illegal substance, the people who were most hurt by the criminalization can now be involved in the legalization process. These people stand to reap the most benefit once recreational sales begin.
How Will Connecticut Prevent Underage Cannabis Use?
Connecticut minors may not access or use cannabis unless they are legally prescribed a dose by a qualifying physician. In fact, anyone under 21 years old without a qualifying condition will be prohibited from using cannabis. Similarly, anyone who practices negligence and allows individuals under the age of 21 to be exposed to or use cannabis will be subject to a fine. The state plans to use the same techniques already in place to keep minors away from alcohol and other drugs, including ID requirements before purchasing cannabis products.
Where Can I Get More Information About Cannabis and Connecticut Laws?
Zen Leaf Dispensaries' Connecticut dispensary location and cannabis information page will be continually updated with FAQs about the new laws, as well as details on the Zen Leaf dispensaries located in the state. It’s the best place to go to get your Connecticut cannabis questions answered, as well as a resource that ensures you know where to go and who to contact if you want more information or would like to purchase your own cannabis. Connecticut cannabis legalization remains a complex topic, and it’s our mission to make sure CT residents have access to high-quality, legally sold products as well as any advice they may need before they jump in.
Connecticut Cannabis Laws Continue to Evolve
As the situation continues to change in Connecticut, there will be more and more to learn about both medical and recreational cannabis regulations in the state. From the legality of cannabis itself to the restrictions and regulations surrounding it and the state’s ultimate plan for the future, ambiguities and complications abound. As a result, there will always be more questions that need answering.
We are here to help you explore cannabis and understand how to do so compliantly. Stay up-to-date on cannabis in Connecticut by checking back here, or subscribing to Zen Leaf Connecticut News.
- Daniel W. Bowles, Cindy L. O’Bryant, D. Ross Camidge, Antonio Jimeno. The intersection between cannabis and cancer in the United States, Critical Reviews in Oncology/Hematology,Volume 83, Issue 1, 2012, Pages 1-10, ISSN 1040-8428, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.critrevonc.2011.09.008
*This post was originally published on December 8, 2022, and updated on February 14, 2023, to reflect the availability of online ordering for recreational purchasers, and on December 19, 2023, to clarify that medical cannabis patients are no longer limited to one dispensary.
*This post was reviewed and verified by Verano Marketing Compliance on January 31, 2023.
Digital Content Manager for MÜV Florida and Zen Leaf Dispensaries. A cannabis connoisseur with a passion for explaining the miraculous possibility of the plant, Swan began her journey with cannabis as a recreational user and quickly realized its positive impact on her depression and severe anxiety. She joined the cannabis industry as Receptionist and MedTender and witnessed first-hand the immense potential of the plant for a wide variety of ailments, deepening her passion for alternative medicine. Swan is dedicated to self-education on the plant and sharing its potential with all. She holds a Journalism degree from the University of Iowa.
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