A joint committee in Connecticut has given approval to legislation that would legalize marijuana.
House Bill 5394 was passed today by Connecticut’s Joint Committee on Appropriations in a 27 to 24 vote. The measure would allow those 21 and older to possess and purchase marijuana, with commissioners of Mental Health and Addiction Services and Consumer Protection and Revenue Services tasked with developing regulations for possession and retail sales.
“This committee vote reiterates what most Connecticut residents already know: it is time to make marijuana legal for adults,” said Becky Dansky, legislative counsel for the Marijuana Policy Project. “The discussions that have taken place in the legislature this year have provided more than enough information to effectively move forward with legalization. Connecticut should stop punishing adults for using a substance that is safer than alcohol, and it has an opportunity to regulate marijuana before it starts losing tax revenue to other states in the region that have already started this process.”
There are nine states that have made marijuana legal for adults, as well as the District of Columbia. Neighboring Massachusetts is in the process of implementing its regulated marijuana market, and in nearby New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy has made legalizing and regulating marijuana one of his top priorities (keeping with a campaign promise to do so).
A poll conducted by Sacred Heart University in October 2017 found that 71% of Connecticut residents support legalizing, regulating and taxing marijuana for adults.
House Bill 5394 must still be approved by the General Assembly before it can be sent to Governor Dannel Malloy for consideration.