Connecticut lawmakers taking another look at legalizing pot
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Connecticut legislators are under pressure to revisit legalizing the recreational use of marijuana, as a growing number of New England states are allowing people to possess and use pot.
There is concern among some members of the General Assembly that Connecticut could miss out on the push toward legalization.
Democratic Senate President Martin Looney noted last week how Maine and Massachusetts approved ballot initiatives in 2016 and commercial marijuana sales are expected to begin in neighboring Massachusetts in July. Meanwhile, Vermont lawmakers recently voted to legalize marijuana and Rhode Island and New Jersey are considering enacting similar measures.
“We need to ensure that Connecticut is not left behind as our neighbors move forward with common sense marijuana policy,” Looney said.
While the concept has been proposed in each of the last several legislative sessions, it remains questionable that 2018 will be the year marijuana legalization can clear the legislature.
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Some highlights of this year’s debate:
Marijuana advocates turned out in force last week for a public hearing before the General Assembly’s General Law Committee, with some wearing flag-like capes with bright green marijuana leaf prints.
That committee’s bill attempts to set up a wide-ranging system for cultivating, selling and possessing the drug, including the creation of a Marijuana Control Council that would regulate marijuana retail stores and marijuana lounges offering “on-site consumption,” according to the legislation.
Proponents are expected to also voice support Monday for another bill before the Judiciary Committee that includes some similar provisions, including the ability to tax the drug. It also makes it legal for people 21 years and older to possess an ounce of “usable marijuana.” By 2020, the legislation expands legalization to include marijuana products and the cultivation of