Adult-use cannabis legalization took a step forward July 1 in Connecticut, but the new law clamps down on delta-8 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and other THC components derived from hemp.
Democratic Gov. Ned Lamont signed legislation to legalize adult-use cannabis June 22, allowing adults 21 years and older to possess up to 1.5 ounces of cannabis flower or an equivalent amount of concentrate in public, and up to 5 ounces in their homes, beginning this month.
With other provisions of the law also being enacted July 1, the Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection (DCP) warned businesses that, without a state license, they may no longer offer or sell hemp-derived products with cannabis-defined concentrations of delta-7, -8, -9 and -10 THC, according to a press release from the department.
The legislation, An Act Concerning Responsible and Equitable Regulation of Adult-Use Cannabis, defines cannabis to include hemp-derived products with a total THC concentration that exceeds 0.3% on a dry-weight basis, which aligns with the delta-9 THC threshold outlined in the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (the 2018 Farm Bill). But, unlike the 2018 Farm Bill, Connecticut’s new law specifically includes delta-7, -8 and -10 in its definition of total THC. The 2018 Farm Bill only defines total THC as delta-9 THC plus tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA).
Any product that exceeds Connecticut’s 0.3% total THC limit is considered cannabis and cannot be sold without a retailer license, while hemp-derived products with concentrations under that limit can still be sold, DCP Communications Director Kaitlyn Krasselt told Hemp Grower.
Commercial sales of adult-use cannabis could begin as soon as May 2022, but license applications under the law are not yet available.
“This change stops the exploitation of a loophole in the federal hemp act that resulted in individuals selling unregulated products on the retail market with high delta-8 THC concentrations that have intoxicating effects,” DCP Commissioner Michelle H. Seagull said in the release. “Prior to this change, entities were able to sell products in the normal retail market without having to adhere to any testing, packaging or labeling standards, including childproof packaging standards, or product restrictions prohibiting forms that appeal to children.”
The DCP advised individuals or entities selling or offering products containing illegal amounts of THC to dispose of those products prior to July 1, 2021.
One retailer in West Hartford plans on giving away delta-8 gummies, NBC Connecticut reported.
According to the recently signed legislation, Senate Bill 1201, “A retailer shall not gift or transfer cannabis at no cost to a consumer as part of a commercial transaction.”
According to Connecticut’s new website that launched to coincide with cannabis legalization taking effect this past week, individuals may gift cannabis to others but may not sell it. Gifting does not include instances in which:
- Cannabis is given away at the same time as another transaction between the same parties;
- A gift of cannabis is offered or advertised in conjunction with an offer for the sale of goods or services; or,
- A gift of cannabis is contingent upon a separate transaction for goods or services.
“The creation of a regulated cannabis market will protect and benefit public health and safety by ensuring consumers know exactly what is in the products they are purchasing and preventing children from accessing these products,” Seagull said. “This change will ensure that hemp products that contain any type of THC that exceeds 0.3 percent on dry-weight basis will now be regulated.”
At least 15 other states have already taken action to restrict or ban the sale of delta-8 in their marketplaces.