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Connecticut Lawmakers Aim to Legalize Recreational Marijuana in 2020

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The Connecticut legislature will convene next month with top lawmakers saying cannabis legalization will be a priority. Advancements were made with several committees last year. Yet, issues concerning the allocating revenue ultimately tabling the debate. According to Senate President Pro-Tem Martin Looney (D), the aggressive stance makes sense. As neighboring states continue to legalize adult use to a rousing success, other states will want to join in. 

Cannabis Legalization Legislation

Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont is teaming up with New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo to legalize cannabis simultaneously to eliminate the black market. Lamont stated that, “We don’t want to give up marijuana to the black market. We’ve seen how dangerous that can be. And come up with our public safety regulations and other rules, if we do that together, I think that would be a priority for both of us.”

Connecticut can surely learn lessons from successful cannabis implementations like Colorado. They were able to cripple if not effectively remove the illicit market. Connecticut politicians continue to voice their approval. However, the main issue is the use of revenue. 

Lawmakers have yet to settle issues  like: the number of allowed cannabis shops, tax rates, what the licensing procedure would look like and how to handle expungements for prior arrests and convictions. Connecticut’s President of the Minority Cannabis Business Association is excited to see that representatives will be taking equity seriously in the upcoming sessions. 

Marijuana Regulations and Social Equity

The reality is cannabis is everywhere and Connecticut now finds itself with no way to regulate it for state revenue and to avoid tampered products. The public is fairly clear on this issue. Polling data from around the state has been fairly consistent in showing an overwhelming majority of state residents that would like to see Connecticut take the cannabis plunge. 

In an effort to focus the debate on social equity, Rep. Mike D’Agostino (D) has pledged to create a commission designed to ensure that benefits go to communities most harmed by prohibition. Tax revenue will be used to address destructive and discriminatory drug policies. 

The Northeast will be a hotbed for cannabis legalization in 2020. Already, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo (D), Vermont Gov. Phil Scott (R), and representatives of New Hampshire are already working on bills to allow for recreational cannabis legalization.

Contributed by Richard Sanchez 

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