Connecticut House and Senate pass cannabis legalization with strong protections for students

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This entry has been published on June 17, 2021 and may be out of date.

For immediate release

Primary contact: Jason Ortiz, SSDP Executive Director, (860) 639-8101

Secondary contact: Zach Green, President of UConn Hartford SSDP, (860) 671-7414

Hartford – Connecticut became the 19th state to pass cannabis legalization through the legislature when the House of Representatives and Senate both passed SB1201. The bill is expected to be signed by the Governor today.

“While stronger language surrounding equity in ownership is needed, it’s very encouraging to see substance use disorder and mental health treatment will have a dedicated fund that will receive 25% of tax revenues. That fund, plus the fact students would no longer be discriminated against through enrollment or penalization due to their cannabis use, is huge progress.” said Zachary Green, President of the  UConn Hartford Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP) chapter, who helped mobilize a rally for legalization in April. “Today is a historic day, but tomorrow we’re right back to organizing for more sensible policies at every level of government.” 

Some youth specific highlights of the bill include:

  • No arrests for possession for anyone under 18 
  • No discrimination against students who use medical cannabis
  • Schools must re-write their policies by January 2022 to equalize cannabis penalties with alcohol
  • Student athletes may not be penalized for failing a drug test for cannabis
  • No financial aid penalty for possession under 4 ounces

“SSDP’s youth and students across the globe are changing laws in their community. Connecticut is just the most recent example of SSDP members leading the fight for a more sensible world.” said Jason Ortiz, Executive Director of SSDP and resident of Connecticut, who was arrested for possession of cannabis as a high school student. “There is no doubt that the training and support we received from SSDP created the foundation for the movement we have built in CT, and today’s victory is proof that a small group of committed citizens can change the world.”  

Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP) is the largest global youth-led network dedicated to ending the War on Drugs. Founded in 1998, SSDP is comprised of thousands of members in hundreds of communities around the globe.