A Guide for Testifying at Public Hearings and Reaching State Legislators Click Here...

Rep. Rutigliano Votes to Regulate THC Drinks and Empower Municipalities to Enforce Drug Laws

Posted on May 2, 2024


HARTFORD – State Representative David Rutigliano (R-123) co-sponsored and supported House passage of a most-needed bill aimed at curbing the sale of unregulated THC drinks while granting municipalities enhanced authority to enforce drug laws. These drinks have been found readily available in convenience stores, grocery stores, vape shops, and gas stations without any age verification requirement, posing a risk particularly to young children.

“Unchecked sales of high-THC drinks in retail stores has been a major concern, especially considering the accessibility to minors,” stated Rep. Rutigliano. “This legislation is a proactive step towards stopping their indiscriminate sale and ensuring robust regulation over their distribution, thus safeguarding our communities.”

As the ranking member of the General Law Committee, which oversees the Department of Consumer Protection responsible for regulating Connecticut’s legal cannabis industry, Rep. Rutigliano played a pivotal role in crafting and advancing this bill.

House Bill 5150, titled An Act Concerning Cannabis and Hemp Regulation, introduces stringent regulations governing THC-infused beverages and other hemp-derived intoxicating products. It mandates that such beverages can only be sold at licensed liquor stores, dispensaries, hybrid retailers, or specialized retailers. Moreover, the legislation imposes strict advertising guidelines, prohibiting any promotional activities that may incentivize the purchase of cannabis products. Notably, it sets the age limit for purchasing moderate- and high-THC hemp products at 21+.

In addition to establishing robust regulatory frameworks, the bill introduces enhanced enforcement mechanisms. Any sale of cannabis products outside Connecticut’s regulated structure is deemed a violation of the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act. This provision empowers state and local authorities, including the Connecticut Attorney General, the Department of Consumer Protection, and municipal entities, to swiftly address the illegal sale of cannabis and hemp products. To facilitate effective enforcement, the bill allocates dedicated funds to the enforcement account.

House Bill 5150 has cleared the House and now proceeds to the State Senate for further deliberation and a final vote. With the legislative session ending on May 8th, there’s a sense of urgency to enact these crucial measures to ensure public safety and regulatory compliance.