CT State Senate debating legalization of adult-use marijuana overnight, but are there enough votes to pass it?

Politics

This story has been archived and will not be updated. Click here for the latest coverage on the bill.

HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — A state budget still needs to be passed and there is an agreement to legalize recreational marijuana. But, are there enough votes to pass the bill?

The recreational use of marijuana bill is 300 pages and will be debated first by the State Senate Monday night.

RELATED: State Senate expected to discuss proposal to legalize recreational marijuana this week

“I’m not so sure it’s going to see the light of day. I don’t think Democrats are that happy with the bill either,” said State Representative Vin Candelora, Republican House minority leader.

State Senator Kevin Kelly the Republican Senate Minority Leader says it’s not a partisan issue. “You’ll see votes all over the place.”

Current draft includes:

  • Adult use only. You must be 21 years old.
  • Grow-your-own is allowed capped at six plants per person/ 12 per home. This begins in July 2023.
  • Retail sales begin in May of 2022.
  • Towns can block sales.
  • Equity applicants have early access to sell.

The governor’s team negotiated the deal with Democratic leaders. They wanted to put rules in place and take it out of the black market.

“We want to make sure it’s regulated,” said Gov. Ned Lamont at a Monday morning press conference. “I think we are getting there.”

Opponents said section 174 line 8955, is a loophole or a final cultivator license can be applied for without being subject to a lottery. It is specific to a “disproportionately impacted area.”

Architects of the bill say that means following U.S. census tract data and historical conviction rates for drug offenses, along with 10-percent unemployment.

RELATED: Public weighs in on potential legalization of recreational marijuana as lawmakers debate bill

An 18-member Social Equity Council will decide who sets upshot and can sell. It was unclear how many certificates of operation the Department of Consumer Protection would be allowed to approve.

State Senator Gary Winfield, a Democrat from New Haven, says there are guard rails so to speak on the proposal: “You will have to fill out the application and demonstrate that these things are true. There are violations in the law for lying on applications.”

He said those who apply for cultivator licenses will have to live in the area and for a set amount of years. Along with other rules to make sure there is equity.

State Senator Martin Looney, the Senate President, says in other states equity wasn’t clearly defined:
“Out of state enterprises come in and scoop up all the licenses and there’s really no benefit in the new entity for local entrepreneurs.”

Opponents say if weed is legalized defense contractors like Sikorsky which makes the presidential helicopter could lose jobs to other states where weed is illegal.

State Senator Kelly said, “If Florida follows federal law and we don’t with regards to marijuana, I wouldn’t want that to become an incentive to lose jobs here for our kids and have those jobs relocate to Florida.”

Adults who buy marijuana would pay a surcharge for higher THC content products. Cannabis would be taxed at a lower rate than New York.

Towns would receive some of the gross receipts tax money. It’s unclear how much money the state would make – it’s estimated at tens of millions a year.

A person could buy an unlimited amount, but there are restrictions on how much you can have on you.

State Senator Winfield explains: “You can have on a person an ounce and a half you can have it in the car locked in the glove box – be careful about that locked in the glove box – 5 ounces or in the trunk 5 ounces.”

You would not be able to smoke it while riding as a passenger in a car.

It’s unclear if the supporters of the bill have enough votes to pass each chamber. Time is ticking and they still have to debate and pass a budget bill before midnight Wednesday.

Revenue from the marijuana bill is not written into the pending state budget deal.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Trending Stories

Don't Miss

More Don't Miss