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Connecticut Judiciary Committee Passes Recreational Cannabis Bill

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Lawmakers in Connecticut are beginning to piece together their support for cannabis by approving a bill that would legalize recreational cannabis in the state.

On April 8, through a 21-19 vote, the Connecticut General Assembly Judiciary Committee passed a bill that would both legalize recreational cannabis as well as remove any criminal records related to low-level drug convictions in the state. It would implement an age limit of 21 years to allow consumption, as well as a possession limit of 1.5 ounces and five grams of concentrate.

As usual, there were many objections to allowing cannabis to move forward. Concerns over the effects cannabis has on minors was discussed, as stated by Sen. Dan Champagne. “We are telling our youth: ‘It’s not that bad, go ahead and try it,’” he said. “Heroin users, cocaine users, you talk to a lot of them, there’s always some drug they used before that . . . Marijuana is one of those drugs that jumpstarts it.” Likewise, Sen. John Kissel expressed his opinion that cannabis isn’t “the right direction” for his state, and stated that “the costs of legalization far outweigh any financial gain to the state.”

Fortunately there are many studies that have found that cannabis consumption in minors did not increase in states that legalized it. Still, Connecticut Senators are hesitant to proceed. “Let’s protect our youth for a little while longer,” added Sen. Tom O’Dea. “Look at the studies from the National Institutes of Health and join me in delaying it a little longer.”

Next, the bill must proceed through the House of Representatives and Senate with majority support in order to be considered by Gov. Ned Lamont.

Currently, cannabis is only decriminalized in Connecticut. Those caught in possession of cannabis won’t receive jail time or have the offense added to their permanent record if it’s a first-time offense. You can read more about the state’s current cannabis laws here.