Lawmakers Hold Hearing Thursday On Legalizing Marijuana
A public hearing Thursday on recreational marijuana was a lopsided affair, with all but one of the people who testified urging lawmakers to legalize possessing, growing and selling limited amounts of the drug.
The state legislature is weighing three bills that, in tandem, would legalize marijuana and regulate its retail sale. Connecticut has been hesitant to follow the lead of neighboring Massachusetts, Maine and Vermont, all of which have legalized recreational marijuana, but with some polls indicating two in three residents support legalization and Gov. Dannel P. Malloy — a longtime opponent of legal pot — saying he would consider it as “an option” to raise revenue, advocates at the state Capitol Thursday felt the winds had shifted.
“I just feel it’s time – we can’t be waiting any longer, sitting around and waiting while we get left behind,” said Cody Roberts, one of two costumed marijuana supporters at the hearing Thursday. “I really feel this is the year we get it done.”
On Thursday, legal pot’s champions came to the Capitol, some with capes and cannabis leaves in their lapels, to demand lawmakers end prohibition. They rattled off the reasons: millions in tax revenue, wider access for sick people whose ailments do not qualify for medical marijuana, that Connecticut’s more progressive neighbors are leaving it behind.
The bill being weighed Thursday alone would not be enough to legalize marijuana in Connecticut. The Judiciary Committee will take up a separate bill Monday, Senate Bill No. 487, that would actually legalize the possession, sale and cultivation of limited amounts of marijuana, and wrestle with the question of expunging convictions of marijuana-related offenses. Yet another bill before the Finance Committee would design a system to tax marijuana sales.
The bill being debated Thursday by the General Law Committee, House Bill No.