Could Connecticut Be Next To Legalize Marijuana?

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New Jersey legalized marijuana last month. Now New York state lawmakers reached a deal to legalize it as soon as next week. Will Connecticut be next? 

“It would decriminalize simple cannabis possession of up to 6 ounces, but also creates really robust equity and job apprenticeship and job building programs,” Jason Ortiz, president of the Minority Cannabis Business Association, said. 

Ortiz said the legislation the labor committee passed Thursday takes the best of legislation from around the region and builds on it. 

“I’m really proud that HB 6377 will expunge records, decriminalize possession, allow for home grow. Allow for equity applicants to get a decent shot at the industry,” Ortiz said.

And 70% of the revenue generated from sales would be reinvested in impacted communities. But there is opposition. 

“I’m not for the criminalization of marijuana anymore. I am against the commercialization of marijuana,” Rep. Dave Rutigliano (R-Trumbull) said. 

Rutigliano said he thinks the commercialization of marijuana will be similar to big tobacco.

“All for decriminalization, personal cultivation, just not commercialization,” Rutigliano said. 

The bill the labor committee passed is slightly different than the governor’s version in that it allows for someone to grow up to six plants in their own home and creates an apprenticeship program for adults looking to get into the multi-billion dollar industry. 

“Elements of this legislation is needed because of the disproportionate impact and damage that it has done to black and brown and poor communities,” Rep. Robyn Porter (D-New Haven) said.

Porter said the revenue is not the main focus for drafting the legalization bill.

“It does need to be done in a way that provides equity to those who have been harmed the most,” Porter said. 

The bill now heads to the House.

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