Senate to Debate Legalizing Cannabis

NBC Universal, Inc.

The Connecticut Senate is expected to take action on a bill that will allow adults over 21 to start purchasing cannabis in Connecticut starting in 2022. But several hurdles remain.

“We think we’ve set it up in such a way that in 2022, you would be able to begin purchasing,” Sen. Gary Winfield, D-New Haven, said.

Winfield, who negotiated the bill with Gov. Ned Lamont's office, said they are requiring 65% of any new cannabis business be owned by an equity applicant who lives in communities impacted by the war on drugs.

“Of the initial licenses that would be put forward, half of those would be set aside for social equity,” Winfield said. 

“It makes a good attempt at righting those wrongs,” he added.

The bill would allow individuals to have one and a half ounces of marijuana on them with an additional five ounces secured in a person’s home or vehicle. It would also allow them to grow three mature and three immature plants and would erase some drug possession charges between January 2000 and October 2015.

“I think this whole issue has been one focused on the revenue rather than on the social policy and whether that social policy is good for Connecticut,” Senate Republican Leader Kevin Kelly said. 

Kelly worries that it’s just about the money.

“My mom always told me that just because your friends were doing drugs means that you can do them too -- that wasn’t the argument my parents taught me,” he said.

Kelly said just because surrounding states are legalizing marijuana doesn’t mean Connecticut needs to do it too.

“I think the bill would require some debate and conversation even without trying to filibuster,” House Minority Leader Vincent Candelora said. 

Candelora isn’t sure there’s enough time to pass it.

“I’m not sure how we’re going to be able to get that piece of legislation done by midnight on Wednesday,” he said. 

But Democrats maintain they have the votes.

“We have a strong commitment from the House Democratic caucus to vote on a cannabis bill,” House Majority Leader Jason Rojas said.

Contact Us