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Connecticut Governor Lamont Signs Cannabis Legalization Law, Expunges Cannabis Criminal Records

Updated: May 27, 2023

On June 3rd, 2021, Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont signed into law a bill that legalizes cannabis for adult use and expunges the records of those who have been convicted of certain marijuana-related crimes. This makes Connecticut the 17th state in the US to legalize cannabis, and the first state in the Northeast to do so through the legislative process rather than via a voter referendum.

The new law allows adults over the age of 21 to possess and use up to 1.5 ounces of cannabis, and to grow up to six cannabis plants for personal use. It also creates a system for licensing and regulating cannabis businesses, including cultivators, manufacturers, testing facilities, and retail dispensaries.

of the most notable aspects of the new law is its provision for expunging the records of individuals who have been convicted of certain marijuana-related crimes. Specifically, the law allows for the automatic expungement of convictions for possession of up to four ounces of cannabis, and for the possibility of expungement for other cannabis-related offenses, such as sale and cultivation, on a case-by-case basis.

This is a significant step forward for criminal justice reform, as individuals with marijuana-related criminal records often face barriers to employment, housing, and other opportunities, even after serving their sentences. Expunging these records will help to remove these barriers and give affected individuals a fresh start.

The law also includes provisions for social equity and community reinvestment, with the goal of ensuring that communities that have been disproportionately impacted by cannabis prohibition will have an opportunity to benefit from the new legal cannabis industry.

Connecticut's legalization of cannabis and expungement of records is a historic step forward, and it is likely to serve as a model for other states considering similar policies. It is important to note that while cannabis is legal in Connecticut, it is still illegal under federal law. The Biden Administration has stated it will not interfere with states that have legalized cannabis, but it is important to stay informed about any changes in federal law.

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