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Budget signed, legalization left out

Program cuts and tax hikes could have been eased with marijuana revenue

 
On Tuesday, Governor Dannel Malloy signed into law a $41.3 billion, two-year state budget that increases taxes by approximately $1 billion over that period. That number could have been significantly reduced had the budget included taxing and regulating marijuana for adults’ use.  
 
The budget also cuts municipal aid, higher education funding, social services, and tens of millions of dollars from energy conservation programs. According to the nonpartisan Office of Fiscal Analysis, when the subsequent governor and General Assembly begin drafting the next budget, they will be facing a deficit of approximately $4.6 billion unless a new source of revenue is created.
 
It is deeply disappointing that lawmakers missed this opportunity to enact commonsense marijuana policies that could have generated a new source of revenue, thereby saving the state money while creating new jobs and causing a major increase in tourism.  
 
However, this conversation is not over in Connecticut. When lawmakers return in February, we will continue the fight to enact legalization in 2018. In the meantime, please keep talking to lawmakers about this issue, educate your friends and family, and stay tuned for other ways to help in the fight!

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