A bill that would legalize recreational cannabis in Connecticut was approved by a legislative committee on Monday, after a pointed debate on the social equity aspects of the legalization of marijuana. The measure, House Bill 7371, was advanced with a vote of 10-8 in the Joint Committee on General Law and would still have to be passed by the Connecticut House and Senate before becoming law with the governor’s signature.
If successful, the measure would legalize and regulate commercial cannabis cultivation, processing, and sales in the state. Companion measures that would tax the cannabis industry and address criminal justice matters including the expungement of past marijuana crimes are being considered by other legislative committees.
Cannabis legalization supporter and Democrat Rep. Juan Candelaria said that regulating marijuana will provide a source of new revenue to benefit residents of the state.
“We have a black market and we stay idle and do nothing, that black market is going to continue to thrive,” said Candelaria. “The opportunity for us to regulate this market and utilize these dollars and really invest them … in addiction care, that goes a long way.”
Social Equity a Sticking Point
Much of the debate over HB 7371 centered