HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — It has been a day of highs and lows in the fight by Democratic lawmakers to do so something 16 states have already done: legalize marijuana for recreational use in Connecticut. This bill has been twisted, amended, rewritten, and put through the wringer.
The State House passed the amended recreational marijuana bill Wednesday night. It now heads back to the State Senate. The vote total was 76 to 62.
Below is coverage on the marijuana bill before the House vote.
You could say the same about the authors. But Wednesday night, lawmakers believe they have fixed the issues. Still — many are against legalizing weed in our state.
State Representative Matt Ritter, the House Speaker says he laid out the scenarios to his members. “When the governor says he’s going to veto it – that was the end of the conversation for a lot of people. We had a deal last week let’s honor that.”
Lawmakers stripped language from a modified senate bill that some say would have opened the flood gates – to sell pot.
The Governor is saying that’s not equity.
Governor Ned Lamont said, “If I rich kid is selling park outside of a high school and gets busted and all of a sudden he’s in the front of the line in order to get a license that didn’t make much sense to me.”
Democratic House leaders admit it was one or two members in the house that were pushing for the changes. The speaker was not consulted.
“I wasn’t consulted on it and didn’t have a chance to vote count it so when you take that action you run the risk that our caucus would respond and the governor might respond and that’s what happened,” said Speaker Ritter.
With a veto looming, it was clear they were losing votes. Members agreed to go back to the original equity definition to save the bill.
Abandoning a provision allowing all marijuana convicts to be first in line to sell cannabis.
Not just those in communities with high unemployment, and low incomes.
State Representative Jason Rojas the Democratic Majority Leader said, “Certainly there is a desire and part of some of my colleagues to include that definition, but we wanted to go back and live up to the deal we had with the governor.”
Republicans pushed for a revolving door ban. The amendment passed.
State Representative Vin Candelora the Republican House Minority Leader is against legalizing weed but was glad his caucus idea passed. “It’s good to see that state officials can’t profit off of marijuana after they leave employment that was something we called for which wouldn’t have gotten in otherwise.”
“There’s going to be a lot of emotion on this VOTE there’s going to be a lot of ideas about this bill and that the vote count was always going to be very very close, ” added Rep. Rojas.
The bill is for adult use only. There is a provision to grow your own. Opponents reminded everyone the federal government still classifies marijuana as illegal.