Connecticut Cannabis Senate Bill to Impact Local Tobacco Businesses

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A recent legislative bill relating to cannabis has many Connecticut-based tobacco businesses on edge. Senate Bill (S.B.) 1201, known also as “An Act Concerning Responsible and Equitable Regulation of Adult-Use Cannabis” legalizes cannabis for adults 21 years and older and expunges many past records for those with cannabis-related charges. The bill also regulates the cannabis market in Connecticut by introducing new taxes and systems for those licensed cultivators, retailers, manufacturers and delivery services dealing with cannabis products. It’s how the new law handles smoking that has many retailers concerned that their businesses could be negatively impacted in the name of progress.

According to S.B. 1201, the lines between cannabis and tobacco are blurred in the eyes of the law in some instances. The bill takes aim at defining smoking as any activity that involves hemp, cannabis or tobacco. This definition enables the bill’s broad restrictions to apply to far more businesses than those that only deal with cannabis products. Hotels and motels that currently offer guests the option of smoking rooms will no longer be allowed to do so. Other employers that offer rooms within their businesses designated for smokers would also not be allowed under the new law. Previously, employers with five or more employees could establish smoking rooms just as they would a break room for non-smoking employee. After Oct. 1, 2021, that will no longer be allowed. The bill goes so far as prohibiting smoking within 25 feet of a doorway, intake vent, or working window, essentially imposing restrictive limitations on when where an individual will be allowed to light up.