HARTFORD, CT.– Connecticut has moved closer to legalising adult-use cannabis in a close run vote. This morning, the bill passed Connecticut’s state Senate, with one Republican and six Democrats voting against it. If the bill passes, people would be allowed to buy 1.5 ounces of marijuana or possess up to 5 ounces. Licences are very expensive at $3m.
The bill now heads to Hartford’s House of Representatives.
“This is one of the most comprehensive cannabis bills. Everybody tends to just focus on legalizing adult use cannabis, but there are a number of provisions here that deal with addressing issues related to youth and how to protect youth, limit the exposure for young people. And a lot of discussions around equity, addressing the question of equity,” said Democratic State Rep. Jason Rojas to the Hartford Courant.
Democrats in the House have already said they plan to introduce the bill and vote on it before the session wraps up Wednesday night.
Retailers with licenses could begin selling cannabis in May of next year. Medical patients could begin to grow their own starting in October.
Social equity applicants would be given at least half of the state’s licenses to grow and sell weed.
The bill would also erase some cannabis convictions.
“Now we are going to legalize something the previously had an impact on those communities. We want to ensure we are on the right side of history,” Rojas said.
Experts do believe the bill could raise hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenue and a big chunk of that money, $50 million, will be earmarked to help communities judged to be in targeted areas get accelerated licenses.
Republicans were against the new bill. “For Connecticut’s future, for our children, I urge my colleagues to vote ‘no’,” Republican Senator Kevin Kelly says. But Democrats have the majority in the house where the bill is headed. They say they expect the bill to pass.
Gov. Ned Lamont (pictured) issued the following statement today, saying:
“I applaud the Senate’s passage of the bill to legalize the adult use of cannabis. The war on cannabis, which was at its core a war on people in Black and Brown communities, not only caused injustices and increased disparities in our state, it did little to protect public health and safety. That’s why I introduced a bill and worked hard with our partners in the legislature to create a comprehensive framework for a securely regulated market that prioritizes public health, public safety, social justice, and equity. It will help eliminate the dangerous, unregulated market and support a new growing sector of our economy, which will lead to jobs and growth. This measure is comprehensive, protects our children and the most vulnerable in our communities, and will be viewed as a national model for regulating the adult-use cannabis marketplace. I look forward to the Connecticut House of Representatives securing passage of this measure and sending it my desk.”