HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) - Connecticut's governor signed the state's new recreational marijuana bill on Tuesday.
The bill was passed by the General Assembly during a back-and-forth special session last week.
The bill legalizes recreational marijuana for adults age 21 and older by July 1.
The law allows people to possess 1.5 ounces of marijuana. Retail sales are expected to start at the end of next year. People will also be able to grow pot, but a limited amount.
“I think it is a model for the rest of the nation. We had a chance to learn from others. I think we got it right here in the state of Connecticut. Maybe we were not the first but we are the first to show we can get it right," Lamont said on Tuesday.
Now that Gov. Ned Lamont signed it, Connecticut has become the 19th state to legalize pot.
Connecticut’s recreational marijuana bill passed through the Senate late Thursday morning.
However, Connecticut is the only state that has done this through the legislature. Other states passed it through referendum.
Neighboring states like Massachusetts and New York have passed recreational marijuana, and Lamont has said it’s time for Connecticut to stop losing money to other states.
Democrats who pushed through the bill said it's more than being about tax revenue.
“The things that have happened under the war on drugs are that we have targeted certain communities, things that have happened, we existed under a legal scheme, laws that are just not just," said State Senator Gary Winfield.
Connecticut’s pot law is focused on equity, giving people in distressed communities opportunities to get licenses to grow and sell marijuana.
However, there are serious concerns about this. The Connecticut State Medical Association says “recreational use of marijuana is bad science, bad policy, and dangerous to Connecticut’s public health. And leaves tens of thousands of children, adolescents and young adults at risk in our state.”
“We all recognize that there is a public health aspect to passing something like this, but we have the days and months ahead to address those concerns,” said Democratic State Rep. Jason Rojas.
Only one Republican voted for this. The House minority leader said for Democrats, it’s not about public health, but “it's been about their bizarre view of economic development and creating a revenue source that, unfortunately, won't even be used to balance our state budget.”
For those looking to grow marijuana, they will be allowed to grow up to six plants. A household can have 12.
When it comes to smoking marijuana in public, it is not prohibited at state parks, and it’s up to local communities to set rules on where it is and isn’t allowed.
However, towns over 50,000 must have designated areas where people can smoke.
“We had the benefit of looking at the experience in other states, and our focus was not just on creating a revenue stream, but addressing equity issues," said Democratic State Senator Martin Looney.
To read the complete bill, click here.