A proposal to legalize marijuana in Connecticut went up in smoke last year, but legislative advocates—including the state’s governor—are ready to give it another go.
In his state of the state address Wednesday, Gov. Ned Lamont said that ending the prohibition on pot represents “an opportunity to right the wrongs of a war on drugs that has disproportionately impacted our minority communities.”
And like last year, when Lamont and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo called for a partnership in their bids for legal weed, the Connecticut Democrat said that he intends to work with “neighboring states as we consider regulating marijuana for adult use.”
“Like it or not, legalized marijuana is a short drive away in Massachusetts and New York is soon to follow,” said Lamont, who is entering the second year of his first term as governor. “Coordinated regional regulation is our best chance to protect public health by displacing illicit sellers with trusted providers.”
“Right now, what you can buy legally in Massachusetts could land you in prison for up to a year in Connecticut,” he added. “We just marked the 100th anniversary of prohibition. How did that work out? The patchwork of cannabis and vaping laws are impossible to enforce.”
Cannabis in the Tri-State Area
Last fall, Lamont and Cuomo held a summit in which they held a summit to “to develop guidelines and principles that will benefit the two states’ vaping oversight and cannabis legalization and help keep Connecticut and New York residents safe.” It was what Lamont’s office described as “a strategic partnership between Connecticut and New York to develop a uniform regional approach to policies on e-cigarettes and legal cannabis.”
“We not only share borders, but we share economic interests, public health priorities, and a joint understanding that the more states work together on these kinds of issues, the better the policy results will be for our residents,” Lamont said in a statement at the time.
As in Connecticut, efforts to legalize marijuana in New York last year fizzled out. But like Lamont, Cuomo used his own state of the state address last month to reiterate his pledge to get legalization done in his state.
“For decades, communities of color were disproportionately affected by the unequal enforcement of marijuana laws,” Cuomo said in his address. “Let’s legalize adult use of marijuana.”