Cannabis Advocacy Alert
Updated: Feb 17
We are expecting two bills related to cannabis (marijuana) to have public hearings before the Connecticut legislature next week. In addition, there is an opportunity for the public to make their voices heard on a federal cannabis proposal. We are also sharing recent action by the Connecticut Attorney General. If you are concerned about cannabis, these are your opportunities to make your opinions heard.
(1) The CT General Assembly will be holding a public hearing next Thursday (2/23) on House Bill 5434: An Act Concerning the Regulation of Cannabis. This bill, raised by a number of legislators including our State Rep. Tracy Marra (R-Norwalk and Darien), would:
Establish a cap on the amount of THC present in a single serving and disclose the THC concentration in each serving with a description of its potency.
Require labels on all THC products saying that such product may be addictive, lead to birth defects or cause psychosis.
Prohibit gasoline dealers from selling any THC product in any form.
Suspend retail cannabis sales until the drug recognition expert certification program is operational.
Require each cannabis retailer to employ a certified budtender who must be present during operating hours.
Prohibit cannabis consumption in locations where alcohol consumption is prohibited.
Repeal certain restrictions on cannabis-related stops and searches of persons and motor vehicles.
Specify that "imminent risk of serious harm" includes a situation where a parent or guardian, visibly under the influence of cannabis, drives to a school or day care facility to pick up their child.
Require that each applicant for a motor vehicle operator license under the age of 18 complete a course on the effects of cannabis and its impact on an individual's ability to operate a motor vehicle.
Prohibit sales of edible cannabis products.
Require that cannabis products be sold in child-proof containers. (NB: This is already a DCP regulation, but not in statute.)
Require the Department of Consumer Protection to (A) review and approve each cannabis product type and its dosage, (B) review cannabis tracking procedures in retail establishments and pharmacies, and (C) designate cannabis as a Schedule II controlled substance.
Specify that secondhand cannabis smoke is toxic to human health.
If you would like to support, oppose, or simply comment on this proposed bill as a whole or any part of it, consider testifying at next week's hearing. The General Law Committee will hear testimony related to H.B. 5434 at 11:00AM on 2/23 at the state legislative office. The public hearing will be held on Zoom and in-person in room LOB 2A. Verbal testimony can be provided live or online and is limited to 3 minutes. Written testimony can be uploaded using this online form.
(2) The public health committee just raised a bill, title, expect will be heard before the committee on either 2/22 or 2/27. Details have not yet been posted, but you can click here to look for the agendas for these meetings.
Note: To find and track all bills related to cannabis (or any other subject), go to https://search.cga.state.ct.us/r/adv/ and enter the appropriate keyword in the "title" space.
(3) A federal action alert was recently released regarding a loophole in the 2018 Farm Bill. By legalizing hemp and hemp-derived products, the Farm Bill indirectly legalized Delta-8, which can have the same harmful effects as THC. If you'd like to write to your representatives in Congress about your views on this legal loophole, you can use this action alert to edit the text and select your legislators.
(4) Last week, CT Attorney General William Tong announced a crackdown on illegally sold Delta-8, a variant of THC which, like THC, can only be sold in CT by a licensed retailer. Tong has already filed suit against five non-compliant retailers and plans to send warning letters to thousands of other retailers across the state. Read the Attorney General's Office's full press release here.
Our State Representative Lucy Dathan (D-Norwalk & New Canaan) was instrumental in this process. Big thanks to her and Attorney General Tong for ensuring retailers are following the law!