Marijuana Legalization Possibly Dead for Regular Session

Connecticut may be running out of time to become the latest state to legalize and regulate the recreational use of marijuana.

Multiple legislative sources told NBC Connecticut the votes are not there to pass cannabis legislation in either the House or the Senate.

Publicly, leaders in both chambers acknowledged the possibility of a Special Session to address the issue.

“I hope that there’s a shot that we can get it done during the regular session,” said Sen. Martin Looney, (D – New Haven), the top member of the Connecticut Senate. “I think it’s one of the major bills. If not, I think it could be a topic for a special session.”

Democrats had moved the issue of cannabis into three different committees: Judiciary, General Law, and Finance, Revenue and Bonding. The intention was to publicly address all of the various issues related to legalizing marijuana. Each committee passed their own version dealing with the issue ranging from how to tax and regulate the substance, expunging of criminal records related to minor marijuana offenses, and how the revenue from sales would be handled.

One legislative source who has supported cannabis told NBC Connecticut, “stitching those bills together is a tough task, but I thought we could do it with enough time.”

The lawmaker told NBC Connecticut that the issue would be more difficult to pass during a standalone Special Session, and predicted the issue was dead until at least 2021.

Republican Leader Len Fasano, who leads the minority caucus, predicted that the votes are not there for legalization.

“I don’t think there are the votes for it and I think they’re going to try to get to special session on it and round up the votes, so we’ll see what happens. I hope they don’t.”

House Democrats are expected to discuss the issue of marijuana behind closed doors to determine whether a measure could be brought to the floor for a vote.

“We won’t know that until we have a full blown caucus in the House and the Senate,” said House Speaker Joe Aresimowicz.

The final day of the legislative session is June 5.

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