Gifting Parties in Connecticut Can Continue with Limits Under Settlement with Attorney General

Attorney General William Tong arrived at a settlement over gifting parties with HighBazaar in Connecticut.

Gifting parties—events that allow guests to buy a random item that includes a cannabis “gift”—will be subject to strict rules after Connecticut’s attorney general arrived at an agreement with organizers of one such event that attracted attention of state officials.

Attorney General William Tong announced May 15 that he reached an agreement, with stipulations, that HighBazaar organizers Joseph Accettullo and Cody Roberts can continue running gifting parties, however, the parties will not resemble what they used to be.

For $20 per ticket, attendees could gain entry to the event to buy accessories or other items and receive cannabis “gifts” on the side in an attempt to cut corners—namely, avoiding the law requiring sellers to have a license. Connecticut banned cannabis gifting events in 2022.

Tong alleged that HighBazaar events were essentially cannabis marketplaces that subverted Connecticut’s legal, regulated cannabis market. HighBazaar’s gifting events were canceled last January after Tong issued cease-and-desist orders in a letter to organizers and the venue.  

“It appears that these events involve the illegal marketing and sale of cannabis outside of the regulated market and that the events are accessible to individuals under the age of 21,” the letter read. Tong warned that the markets appeared to violate the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act (“CUTPA”), General Statutes § 42-110a, et seq., the Responsible and Equitable Regulation of Adult-Use Cannabis Act, General Statutes § 21a-420, and/or other applicable laws and regulations. But Tong reached an agreement with HighBazaar that will allow them to continue to operate with several restrictions.

“HighBazaar operated unlawful cannabis markets where vendors peddled untested, illegal products. Not anymore. This stipulated judgment forces a series of strong, ongoing obligations, including clear and conspicuous disclosures and acknowledgements that the sale, distribution and exchange of cannabis will be strictly prohibited at any HighBazaar event. We will be watching closely—including unannounced inspections—to ensure strict, ongoing compliance,” said Attorney General William Tong.

The stipulations include that Accettullo and Roberts must make clear and conspicuous disclosures at HighBazaar events and on any advertisements that the sale, distribution, or exchange of cannabis will be strictly prohibited. 

All prospective vendors must be notified in advance, and must acknowledge in writing that they will not sell, offer, distribute, or exchange cannabis at any HighBazaar event. judgment provides the Office of the Attorney General the right to enter and inspect HighBazaar premises at any time to ensure compliance with the agreement.

CT Insider reports that Alex Taubes, an attorney for HighBazaar organizers, called the judgment a “great victory” and said he was “pleased that the state finally saw some reason.”

The Office of the Attorney General also previously sent notice to EventBrite, where HighBazaar was promoting its gifting events. The letter warned that such posts violate EventBrite’s own Community Guidelines and that the events they promoted also violate Connecticut law. The Office of the Attorney General has an active and ongoing investigation into EventBrite’s continued marketing of unlicensed cannabis markets in Connecticut.

Assistant Attorneys General Jonathan Blake and Addison Keilty, and Deputy Associate Attorney General Michael Wertheimer, Chief of the Consumer Protection Section, assisted the Attorney General in this matter.

Another legal loophole in Connecticut led to THC-infused seltzers surging in popularity.

Liquor stores in Connecticut are selling THC-infused drinks such as seltzers legally, due to a legal loophole regarding dosages listed on the cans.

Cannabis retail stores are selling cans listed as one serving, but the same cans of cannabis-infused seltzer, usually running in sizes from 7.5 – 12 ounces, are labeled as five servings in a package at a liquor store or market.

All they have to do is ensure that each serving contains less than 1 mg of THC per serving and they can sell the seltzers without violating state law. CT Insider reports that when the drinks are labeled as five servings rather than one, they are technically legal to be sold anywhere in the state, so long as other elements of the packaging are in line with state rules.

Connecticut’s Department of Consumer Protection (DCP) clarified that the drinks are indeed legal. “A package containing less than 1 milligram of THC per serving and less than 5 milligram per package is not considered cannabis, and may be produced and sold without a license,” DCP spokesperson Kaitlyn Krasselt confirmed. 

Connecticut legalized adult-use cannabis in 2021 and later became available for purchase by adults at retail outlets in January 2023. Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont signed legislation to legalize adult-use cannabis in June 2021, ending the prohibition on possession of cannabis by adults 21 and older and creating a framework for regulated adult-use cannabis sales. Connecticut’s cannabis market showed steady growth

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