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Connecticut Establishes Recreational Marijuana Business Regulations to Take Effect Oct. 16

  • Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection establishes policies and procedures for recreational marijuana businesses
  • Regulations include steps to ensure security and avoid underage use of the drug
  • Retail sales of recreational marijuana are expected to begin in Connecticut in 2022

Summary by Dirk Langeveld

The Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection has published policies and procedures necessary for the operation of recreational marijuana businesses in the state. The regulations go into effect on Oct. 16 and cover several topics, including product quality, security, and safeguards to prevent marijuana use by minors.

The Connecticut General Assembly legalized recreational marijuana earlier this year, and the use and possession of the drug is now legal in the state. Retail sales of recreational marijuana are expected to begin in 2022.

The 54-page document issued by the Department of Consumer Protection addresses issues such as “seed to sale” traceability systems, cannabis manufacturing restrictions, marketing and advertising, security and equipment requirements, and employee training.

The state law permits recreational marijuana use by adults ages 21 and older, and several of the policies and procedures are designed to deter marijuana use by younger residents. These include a prohibition on using anyone under the age of 21, anyone who could be “reasonably expected” to be under the age of 21, or any “figure, symbol, or language” associated with this age group in the company’s advertising. The regulations also establish similar limitations on marijuana delivery devices, branding, and packaging.

The regulations set minimum security requirements to deter theft and loss, including measures such as a perimeter alarm, motion detector, video surveillance, silent alarm systems to signal a problem in case of a robbery, and secure storage requirements for marijuana products. Similar requirements are established for transportation and delivery vehicles, which must not have any markings such as a brand or company name showing that they are part of a marijuana business.

Several requirements seek to limit access to marijuana, including compartmentalization of the establishment with only authorized employees allowed in areas where marijuana is stored. Businesses must also document the chain of custody of all marijuana.

The regulations create a number of restrictions on the manufacture of marijuana, including that products must be free of materials such as alcohol, caffeine, or nicotine that might increase its potency, toxicity, or addictiveness. Edible products must be distinct from commercial products, namely by taking a cuboid, spherical, or other approved shape with “THC” clearly stamped on it. Cultivator establishments are limited to 250,000 square feet of growing space.

Single packages of marijuana products are limited to one ounce, with a standard serving not to exceed five milligrams of THC. The regulations say labeling of these products should include graphics indicating that the products include THC and are intended for ages 21 and older. They also call for several warnings on issues such as the dangers of using marijuana while pregnant, the potential for habit formation or addiction, and the risks of mental health problems associated with frequent and prolonged use of marijuana.

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