Cannabis laws in Connecticut have slowly evolved over the last few years and today, lawmakers are holding a hearing about recreational weed. The meeting may be a sign that this state could be close to having legal recreational cannabis.
Public Hearing to Discuss Weed
This morning, Connecticut lawmakers will hear arguments for and against the possibility of legalizing recreational weed. The meeting is a public hearing, which means it will be open for comments from the general public.
The hearing will focus on Bill No. 5458, which calls for the following keys changes:
- Anyone 21 and older would be allowed to buy recreational weed from a cannabis retailer.
- The state would allow people to consume weed in lounges.
- People in Connecticut would be allowed to grow up to six plants at their home for personal use.
So far, those in the state who support the idea have focused on legalization as a way to increase tax revenues. In particular, advocates have argued that boosting taxes is important right now when the state is facing serious financial challenges.
Additionally, lawmakers like Rep. Robyn Porter have cited social justice concerns as key reasons for pushing for legalization. In particular, Porter has raised concerns regarding the racial disparity in weed-related arrests.
“This has always been an issue that has impacted communities of color disproportionately and has sent many black and brown people to jail for what I feel are nonviolent offenses,” Porter told the Yale Daily News last year.
“You have people serving time for marijuana charges. With the three-strikes law, you have some people in jail with life sentences, spending more time in jail than people who have done very heinous crimes.”
On the other hand, opponents of the idea include Governor Dannel Malloy. The governor has been clear that he does not support legalization.
Today’s public hearing will give lawmakers and residents a chance to discuss the issue. It will also give lawmakers an important chance to hear arguments directly from the public.
Final Hit: This State Could Be Close To Having Legal Recreational Cannabis
The topic of recreational cannabis in Connecticut has been on the table for at least the last couple years. Weed laws in the state have undergone some important changes, but progress has stalled out when it comes to full legalization.
In 2011, the state successfully decriminalized weed. Then, in 2012, the state launched its medical marijuana program. Since then, advocates have pushed to legalize recreational weed, but nothing has materialized yet.
Interestingly, surveys consistently find that the huge majority of Connecticut residents support legalization. In fact, a study conducted last fall by Sacred Heart University found that a full 71 percent of people in Connecticut support legalizing and taxing recreational weed.
Cannabis advocates in the state are hoping that this popular support will be enough to get a legalization bill on the ballot later this year. If Connecticut does legalize, it will be the tenth state to do so.
Earlier this year, lawmakers in Vermont signed a bill to legalize recreational cannabis, making it the ninth state with legal weed.
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