Legalizing cannabis for adult use in Connecticut has been discussed multiple times in committee hearings – at one point about a month ago for much longer than anticipated – but it still has not received the support it needs to make it out of committee hearings and drafted as a bill to be heard by the General Assembly. It is not expected to be heard during this week’s judiciary committee hearing, which would be the last chance for lawmakers to push the bill through during this session, effectively letting the prospect die until lawmakers inevitably pick up the issue again during the next legislative session.
“There certainly was more people who felt more strongly about it this year than I’ve ever seen,” Klarides said Wednesday. “But I don’t think there was ever an appetite to actually do it this year.”
It doesn’t appear that lawmakers were very convinced from the start that legalization would actually happen – this seems to have been just another chance to get the conversation rolling when it comes to the possibility of legalizing, taxing and regulating cannabis. However, even if lawmakers aren’t ready for it, the citizens of Connecticut sure are, according to a recent poll that shows that 63% of residents are in favor of legalizing cannabis for adult use. This is very much in line with polls nationally that are showing about the same level of support – and now it’s time for lawmakers to start getting on board.
“I believe that Connecticut is ready for a rational, common-sense approach to the legalization and regulation of marijuana,” said Senate President Pro Tem Martin M. Looney, D-New Haven. “States across the country are reaping the financial benefits of marijuana regulation. With our neighbor Massachusetts poised to be the next state to implement a legalization plan, Connecticut is in danger of being left at a financial disadvantage.”
In a state where funding is short by $1.7 million already, legalizing cannabis seems like the perfect way to not only generate that needed revenue, but to implement a law that the citizens approve of and that would benefit far more than just the state’s general fund. Legalization creates jobs, both on an entrepreneurial scale and on an entry-level and hourly level as well by introducing an entirely new industry. It also frees up lots of time and resources for law enforcement and the court system, who can focus on real crimes instead of misdemeanor marijuana possession charges that cause more damage to an individual’s life than could possibly be necessary in most cases.
It’s unfortunate that Connecticut lawmakers are not quite ready to have a real discussion on cannabis – one that would lead to a vote one way or the other – but it has been an opportunity for many people to come out and speak on behalf of the pro-cannabis legislation. Now that the discussion is open, and neighboring states like Massachusetts are working on implementing taxation and regulation laws of their own, maybe there will be more motivation to actually have something pushed through during the next legislative session.