Marijuana legalization advocates pushing, votes lacking

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In an effort to get the legalization of recreational marijuana in Connecticut passed the legislative finish line the proposal has been changed.

It doesn’t just favor the larger cities for locating retailers or directing the tax revenue grants any more.  The new version uses census information to target anywhere where there’s poverty, so both licenses and tax dollars could also go to rural towns as well.

Advocates gathered to make the big final push today with inner city Democrats pushing the hardest.

Rep. Brandon McGee (D-Hartford) is leader of the Black and Puerto Rican Caucus of Legislators. He says, “We want to be part of the conversation and we want equity to be a part of that as well.”

Related: Rally to support marijuana legalization kicks off Wednesday in Connecticut

Kebra Smith-Bolden of the Connecticut Coalition to Regulate Marijuana says, “Connecticut would be left behind if we are the only state in the New England region to not legalize cannabis and we became an island between all of these other states that are moving forward.” 

Frank Cuccaro, a retired Bridgeport Police Officer, says, “Regulation can free up resources for the police so they can focus on more serious crimes such as domestic violence, gun violence and things of that nature.”

But Capitol head counters say the Democrats still do not have enough votes in the House to get this approved.

The Speaker of the House, Rep. Joe Aresimowicz (D-Berlin) said Wednesday, “You go sit outside any of the dispensaries up in Massachusetts and you will see a large amount of Connecticut plates, so, it’s here.”

The Speaker also says Democrats in the House were scheduled to discuss the latest marijuana and highway tolls proposals in closed caucus Wednesday night to see if there’s enough support to try to hold a vote on either of these controversial proposals next week.

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