HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Recreational cannabis use is now legal for adults in Connecticut, but state officials and business leaders are still working out how it will be sold, and by whom.
The main reason Connecticut legalized recreational marijuana was to make money. The state wants to make money by taxing it. The plan is, businesses in communities hurt by the war on drugs will make money selling it.
Both sides still have to work out the details, however. They got off to a good start with a forum called “The Business of Cannabis,” hosted by the Hartford Business Journal.
“We really want to do a good job of educating the residents and the business community on the state of cannabis here and the opportunities it presents for the state,” said Tom Curtin, publisher of the Hartford Business Journal.
The hope is legal pot sales will bring in about $90 million a year in tax revenue for the state. Connecticut already has medical marijuana growers and dispensaries, so aspiring cannabis entrepreneurs can learn from them. Connecticut can also look north to Massachusetts, where pot dispensaries have been open for almost three years.
Critics have said large businesses will take over most of the licenses the state is allowing, and community members will never see the profits. State leaders are working now to make sure that doesn’t happen.
“We have to set up a social equity council that will help determine a lot of the exact regulations and make recommendations about how policy should change so that we can arrive at a marketplace that is equitable and ensures that there is access to a broad range of individuals who want to enter the marketplace,” explained State Representative Jason Rojas (D – House Majority Leader).
The forum at Farmington Gardens was full of people. Close to 200 people crammed in there to learn more about the cannabis business. It’s only going to grow from here. Some believe nationwide legal pot is going to become a $100 billion a year business.