Connecticut's legal adult-use cannabis market is officially rolling out on Tuesday, Jan. 10 around 10 a.m.
As a total of seven retailers are getting ready to open, state officials are worried about the impact the move might have on children.
Officials Worried About Health Impacts
New Heaven city leaders stressed the importance of keeping children safe and responsible use of marijuana.
To tackle the issue, they've launched a campaign for young people saying there's nothing recreational about cannabis, urging adults to lock it, label it and limit it in their homes, reported NBC Connecticut.
Cases of middle school students ending up in the hospital after getting sick from eating cannabis-infused edibles were reported last year in the New Haven Public Schools (NHPS) district and following the legalization of recreational use in 2021.
Karl Jacobson, who was sworn in as the New Haven Police Department's new police chief in July, warned about potential criminal consequences.
"The potential criminal consequence is a risk to injury, which is a felony," Jacobson said, adding, "we have seen charges like that where it wasn't locked up and it was accessible to people under age."
Unfortunately, a growing number of children are accidentally consuming marijuana-infused foods nationwide.
According to a recent analysis of records from the National Poison Data System, in the period between 2017 and 2021, the number of incidents in which children under the age of six accidentally ate edible cannabis products rose by 1,375%.
Dr. Antonia Nemanich, a co-author of a study published in the journal Pediatrics, attributed the increase to several factors, including the coronavirus pandemic and the nationwide legalization wave, which resulted in more available marijuana products, to name a few.
"I think all of that plays into this, and the regulations haven't kept pace with the increased prevalence of the product," she said.
(Un)Fairness Of Legalization Process
Meanwhile, complaints around the legalization process in Connecticut suggest that cannabis retail licenses have been awarded to out-of-state operators instead of social equity applicants.
"The truth of the matter is those applicants who are well resourced are gonna come up with that money anyway," Andrea Comer, now former chairwoman of the state's Social Equity Council, who supervised much of the lottery process, said in October." So it's not an easy thing to address."
House Majority Leader Jason Rojas, one of the contributors to the adult-use cannabis bill, told NBC Connecticut that the issue needs to be additionally addressed while projecting that smaller businesses will evolve and get their fair share of the market after all.
"You look at beer and the beer industry. For the longest time, it was all the major providers of beer," he said. "And in the last 10 years, we've seen an explosion of craft beer makers."
Where To Buy Legal Weed In CT
For now, seven existing medical marijuana dispensaries have "successfully completed the necessary steps for conversion to a hybrid license," the state Department of Consumer Protection (DCP) announced in a last year's statement.
The seven dispensaries are:
- Affinity Health & Wellness in New Haven
- Bluepoint Wellness in Branford
- The Botanist - Acreage Holdings, Inc's ACRDF's subsidiary - in Montville
- Fine Fettle Dispensary in Newington, Stamford and Willimantic
- Willow Brook Wellness in Meriden
The Constitution state became the 18th U.S. state to legalize marijuana use in 2021, and Gov. Ned Lamont (D), who signed the legislation into law back then, said on New Year's Day that thousands of Connecticut residents convicted of cannabis possession will have their records cleared in an automated erasure method.
To that end, Gov. Lamont and state lawmakers hailed the launch of the "Clean Slate and Cannabis Erasure" online portal to facilitate more cannabis record sealing on Monday.
"Under a new state law that went into effect on Jan. 1, our administration has marked 43,754 low-level cannabis convictions as erased," Lamont said in a post on Twitter, on Jan. 9.
Photo: Courtesy of Thought Catalog on Unsplash
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