A prudent step toward marijuana legalization
A bill recently backed by the Appropriations Committee to set the stage for the possible legalizing of marijuana in Connecticut closely aligns with the proposed approach we suggested nearly a year ago. The General Assembly should approve it.
Our May 28, 2017 editorial called upon the state legislature to form a special commission to make recommendations as to how marijuana could best be regulated and taxed for sale to adults aged 21 and older.
The Appropriations bill would seek the same results but use a different approach. It calls on state agencies, rather than a commission, to draft a plan for the legalization and regulation of the drug. Due Oct. 1, the resulting recommendations would provide a framework for a bill that the General Assembly could act on in 2019. It would also become part of the political debate in the coming state election campaign.
This partial step should be able to win support both from legalization supporters and those who are undecided. It does not commit the legislature to make marijuana legal for recreational use, but it will help set some parameters and provide options for the legislative discussion that would follow.
In November 2016, Massachusetts voters approved legalizing the purchase, possession, home growth and use of marijuana. Since then, legislators and regulators in Massachusetts have been slow to develop the regulatory and legal structure for lawful marijuana. But while some details remain to be worked out, Massachusetts is on schedule to begin allowing retail sales July 1. When that happens, many Connecticut residents will be making the short trek north to buy marijuana, with all the tax and commerce benefits flowing to Massachusetts.
In other words, the question is not whether state citizens will use marijuana to get high. They are and will continue to do so. The question is