Connecticut Bill Aims to End Cannabis ‘Retail Gifting Events’

Connecticut advocates are rallying against a proposal to end the state’s gifting-based cannabis gray market by imposing a $10,000 fine and a jail sentence of up to a year for gifting cannabis.

Full story after the jump.

Cannabis advocates in Connecticut are pushing back on provisions in a bill that would impose a $10,000 fine and up to a year in jail for gifting cannabis, CT News Junkie reports. Democratic Rep. Michael D’Agostino, the co-chairman of the Legislature’s General Law Committee, said the provisions are not intended to prohibit residents from giving cannabis to friends and family, rather stop “retail gifting events,” pointing to a Tupperware party as an example where cannabis was used as currency.

“‘Instead of cash, bring cannabis,’ and that’s the transaction. That would be prevented versus … your friends are coming over for a book club and you bake cannabis brownies. Have at it. The former would be prevented. The latter would not.” – D’Agostino, during the hearing, via CT News Junkie

During the hearing, lawmakers heard opposition from the public, including from Douglas Moore, who was born without arms and legs, lives on a fixed income, and relies on cannabis gifts from friends and family.

“For me to be actually a normal person like all y’all, I need this gift,” Moore said during his remarks. “So my question is: are you going to arrest me?”

D’Agostino responded that, as drafted, the law would not ban that type of gifting.

“It’s meant to target really what are essentially commercial transactions,” he said.

Michael DeLauro, a retired state worker who has lupus and a form of epilepsy, said cannabis helps treat his conditions better than traditional medications and urged D’Agostino to attend such gifting events to get a better understanding of the community involved.

“If you stop these types of events happening, you’re also going to stop the type of generosity and the type of community spirit that happens at these types of events.” DeLauro testified during the hearing. “It’s not simply eliminating a commercial transaction. I’ve thought about it and I’m not really sure what the law does other than protect commercial interests.”

The measure also includes a proposal to ban cannabis advertising on billboards in Connecticut and eliminate a provision that prohibits a municipality from granting zoning approval for more retailers or micro-cultivators than a number that would allow for one retailer and one micro-cultivator for every 25,000 residents of the municipality.

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