The money part of the legalization effort is considered crucial to getting final passage of legal marijuana.
As News 8 first reported last week, the tax code writing Finance, Revenue & Bonding Committee is proceeding to write a plan that calls for the bulk of the new money raised by the approximately 20 percent in taxes on marijuana, to be earmarked for the major cities like New Haven, Hartford and Bridgeport.
“Focus the dollars, sales tax dollars, back into the communities that have been disinvested in for decades. Partially because of the ‘War on Drugs,’ the ‘War on Weed,’ as they say,” said committee co-chairman Sen. John Fonfara (D-Hartford).
Everything that’s done in the legislature is linked to getting votes, and many Democrats from the cities have made it clear that this proposal will help get their vote to legalize marijuana.
Sen. Gary Winfield (D-New Haven) said, “The more money that you can put into those places where we’ve devastated those communities because of the approach we’ve had on the drug war, then the happier a legislator who represents one of those communities will be.”
Sen. Dennis Bradley (D-Bridgeport) added, “We absolutely need to see that in the bill, and I’m speaking for myself, to make sure I can vote for the proposition of legalizing marijuana.”
Republicans see this as this as a way to continue to fund pet projects in the cites despite the Governor’s edict to cut down on borrowing.
Committee member Rep. Chris Davis (R-Ellington) said, “This would create a revenue stream and an opportunity to fund those community centers, those statues, those other things that otherwise wouldn’t be funded through bonding anymore.”
Governor Lamont is also shooting down this idea.
He said he agrees with the equity portion of the two previous bills, but not about where the new money from taxes should go.
He said, “I like a little control of where the money goes. I don’t like everything ‘earmarked.’ If you ask my preference; I’d look at the opioid epidemic and I think we could do a little better job there.”
Senator Fonfara, the co-chair of the Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee, told News 8 that this final part of the legal marijuana puzzle is unlikely to get a public hearing until the week of April 29th.