Assembly considers pot legalization bills
The Connecticut General Assembly has held four hearings over the last three weeks on proposed legislation to legalize recreational marijuana, though time may be running short in Hartford as a legislative deadline approaches.
The Appropriations Committee held a hearing on a legalization bill last Thursday, and the Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee on Tuesday considered a bill that would allow the state to levy taxes on marijuana should it be legalized. Before that, the General Law Committee and the Judiciary Committee each held a hearing on seperate bills that would also legalize marijuana. The General Law Committee rejected its measure in a 6–11 vote while the Judiciary Committee will not vote on its bill this session. The two committees currently considering their respective bills now have a few more days to vote on their proposals before the deadline for forwarding legislation to the entire Assembly, which votes only on bills that have cleared committee.
The four hearings featured people from an array of backgrounds, varying in expertise and with a range of opinions. There were doctors, advocates, lawyers, industry leaders, community prevention specialists and ordinary citizens.
With no clear consensus among the testifiers, state Rep. Melissa Ziobron, R-East Hampton, was visibly vexed at one point by a hail of competing statistics from both sides.
“There are clearly two camps here, and each of them pull out studies to suit their narratives,” Ziobron said. “I just want to state on the record that there are lots of studies people can throw around.”
Ziobron, who supports marijuana legalization, went on to highlight that the bill would legalize marijuana use only for people over the age of 21 and would strengthen underage marijuana enforcement in response to arguments that legalization would encourage marijuana use among teenagers.
The bill’s opponents were less convinced. William Huhn, spokesman