February 5 marked the opening day of the Connecticut General Assembly. While last year’s efforts to end marijuana prohibition fell short, 2020 promises to be our best chance yet.
During Gov. Ned Lamont’s State of the State address, he remarked, “We just marked the 100th anniversary of prohibition. How did that work out?”
He called for a coordinated regional approach to marijuana regulation to protect public heath and to “right the wrongs of a war on drugs that has disproportionately impacted our minority communities.” His budget includes new staff to prepare for legal sales in 2022. A summary of Gov. Lamont's proposed cannabis regulation bill is available here.
Senate Democrats included legalization in their list of 2020 priorities, with Senate President Martin Looney saying, “We know there are very large numbers of Connecticut residents already traveling regularly to Massachusetts to buy this product... I don’t think we want to put our heads in the sand.”
Meanwhile, a recent poll found 65% of Connecticuters support legalization.
Ten states are now regulating marijuana similarly to alcohol, but most of those measures were enacted by ballot initiative, where the public votes on a single proposal. Since Connecticut’s Constitution does not allow for ballot initiatives, we are working to pass a bill to regulate marijuana through the legislature.