marijuana legalization

State Senate Debates Cannabis Legalization

Anne Sakkab | Bloomberg | Getty Images

State senators debated late into Monday night if Connecticut should legalize recreational marijuana.

It comes in the final days of the regular legislative session.

As the state moves closer to legalizing cannabis for adults some are feeling hopeful.

“To have something come together and it seems like it's getting some more support, so I'm really, really excited,” said Zachary Green, Students for Sensible Drug Policy UConn Hartford Chapter president.

Lawmakers announced a deal about how to allow those age 21 and over to buy recreational cannabis starting in 2022.

And on Monday state senators weighed in on the nearly 300 page bill.

“We have seen what has been wrought by having a war on drugs. Whole communities have been decimated,” said State Sen. Gary Winfield, D – New Haven.

Proponents say this is about unwinding what they see as a failed drug policy.

Now they’ve laid out a lengthy plan which includes rules for sales, taxes and regulation.

There would be limits. People could carry an ounce and a half, as well have an additional five ounces stored at home or in a car. There would also be allowances for having plants.

Opponents have raised concerns including that the issue has been more focused on raising money rather than whether the policy is good for the state.

“I totally oppose this. I think it sends a horrible message to our young people,” said State Sen. John Kissel, R – Enfield.

Supporters point out they are requiring many new cannabis businesses to be owned by those who live in communities impacted by the war on drugs.

The bill would also clear some drug possession convictions from between January 2000 and October 1, 2015.

“I do wish there were some more social equity included in the legislation. I do think this is a great step forward,” said Green.

If the bill passes the Senate, it will head to the House and the aim would be to have the legislation done before the end of the session at midnight on Wednesday.

If it becomes law, Connecticut would join 18 other states that already allow recreational marijuana.

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