Connecticut Senate President Pro Tem Martin Looney (D-New Haven) has filed a bill to legalize cannabis. A separate bill that would also legalize cannabis has been filed in the state’s House of Representatives.
Senate Bill 11 would allow those 21 and older to legally possess and use cannabis. Modeled after Colorado’s Amendment 64, it would establish a system of regulated and taxed cannabis retail outlets and cultivation centers. The measure is in the Joint Committee on Judiciary.
“I would urge us to adopt that broad based legalization and also have a tax structure similar to Colorado which generates significant revenue for the state General Fund,” says Looney.
Republican State Representative Melissa Ziobron (R-East Hampton) has also filed a measure to legalize cannabis; her measure, however, doesn’t yet appear on the state’s legislative website.
“We have to have a real conversation about legalization of marijuana,” says Ziobron. “We need to have a public hearing at the Capitol. (My bill) not only provides an opportunity with the General Fund, it also has a mechanism to deposit extra revenue in budget reserve fund.”
Under current Connecticut law, the possession of up to 1/2 ounce of cannabis is a civil fine of $150. Possessing 1/2 ounce to four ounces is a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail for the first offense; for subsequent offenses it’s a felony punishable by up to five years in prison .