History of CBD and Cannabis: Connecticut
For decades, cannabis was a topic that the legislature and residents avoided. However, increasing public awareness about the potential benefits cannabis products started to seep into the state’s legal framework.
In the early 2000s, well publicized research studies implicated that cannabis could decrease the severity of neurological, chronic pain, and mental health conditions. By 2011, Governor Dannel Malloy signed legislation that decriminalized cannabis possession.
Before the new bill passed following a close vote in the Senate, possession of even small amounts could result in jail time, exorbitant fines, court-mandated community service, and a felony record.
After the vote, Governor Malloy made a historic statement: “The punishment should fit the crime.” He was one of the first highly public, right-leaning officials in the East Coast to acknowledge that judicial and police resources shouldn’t be focused on non-violent drug offenders.
Cannabis, CBD, and Connecticut
The following year, Malloy signed a medical marijuana program into law following a contentious fight in the Senate.
Six years later, a recreational marijuana bill was approved by an extremely narrow 27-24 vote. A renewed plan was sent to the General Assembly in October of 2018, outlining how the program could be safely implemented and introduced to the public.
Consumers should keep in mind that, technically, the bill has not yet been implemented. It will likely take two more years for users to see recreational marijuana available in statewide dispensaries. Coordinating between conflicting agricultural, health, and police departments have served as major setbacks in the state.
Nonetheless, lawmakers are hopeful that increasing legal access to cannabis and CBD products will decrease mass incarceration and criminal activity. Additionally, drug users may feel more comfortable reaching out for support from public health institutions rather than hiding their problems for fear of legal repercussions.
The recreational marijuana bill comes partly as a response to the 2014 and renewed 2018 Farm Bills passed federally. Under the nationwide bill, hemp is no longer considered an illicit substance and is instead an agricultural commodity. This allowed for CBD to be sold, possessed, and used throughout Connecticut.
Ultimately, increasing access to CBD and extremely rapid shifts in public perception of marijuana have allowed for a fully legal cannabis landscape in Connecticut.
Now, it’s possible for residents to find low THC CBD at any participating cafe, restaurant, retail outlet, or vendor who sells it. Currently officials are working on creating a robust regulatory network that will monitor the quality of CBD and cannabis products on the market.