Norwich begins to educate youth on marijuana rules leading up to legalization date

Cannabis in Connecticut

NOTE: This story has been updated to reflect the correct time frame cannabis sales are expected to begin in CT.

NORWICH, Conn. (WTNH) — Fireworks will once again be lighting up the sky July 4th, just days after more people may be doing some lighting up of their own. Recreational use of marijuana becomes legal in Connecticut on July 1.

“Our biggest concern is making sure that it’s really clearly communicated that what the law is and that these substances are not for children,” said Justin Zeigler, a caseworker with Norwich Youth & Family Services.

RELATED: This Week in CT: A breakdown of the recreational marijuana bill signed into state law

That is something his colleagues have been addressing for years. A conversation they plan to continue.

“We’re communicating with young people that… what the age limit is and that most of them don’t meet that age limit but then also we’re exploring different ordinances to help support making sure that the marketing of marijuana is not targeted at young people,” said Ziegler.

“You got to be older and pretty much know what you’re getting into and know what the risks are,” said Norwich resident Iriquoi Reels.

He says that’s also why the smoking age for cigarettes was raised from 18 to 21. Reels however does feel legalizing marijuana could help boost the economy.

“Open up businesses because we’ve been down a lot since the whole pandemic thing. I think it’s a step forward,” said Reels.

The new law also allows cities and towns to impose a 3% sales tax on marijuana sales and can regulate where it can be sold. So there may be more ordinances on the books regulating retail sales.

The city manager’s office in Norwich says those conversations have yet to begin, but will soon. Retail sales are expected to begin in Connecticut by the end of next year.

“Lots of states have been through this so we’re just learning from our colleagues around the country,” said Ziegler.

In addition to the age limit, there are also limits on how much pot someone can possess and where they can smoke it.

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