The chances of Connecticut giving the green light to recreational marijuana increased dramatically when Democrat Ned Lamont won the race for Governor earlier this month. 

Now, with hundreds of people lining up just 30 minutes north of the state border in Northampton, and Leicester, Massachusetts to legally buy marijuana and marijuana products, there will be more urgency on the issue.

Unlike Governor Malloy, Lamont embraced the idea of legalizing marijuana all through the campaign.

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He now joins the highest ranking state legislator in the effort, Sen. Martin Looney (D-New Haven). The Senate President Pro tem told News 8, “It’s pointless to continue to have it be illegal in Connecticut since people can now travel just across the border to Massachusetts. It’s a significant revenue item for us. It’s also a safety item.”

Looney, who pushed it last year, said it could raise up to $100 million a year in revenue for the state and will help take marijuana sales off the illegal street market and insure quality.

But the Deputy Minority Leader in the House, Rep. Vin Candelora (R-North Branford) noted, “It’s an issue that really transcends party. There are Democrats that oppose it and there are Republicans that support it.” Candelora and the Connecticut Police Chiefs Association oppose legalization because there is no scientific test for marijuana intoxication like there is for drunk driving. He added, “Until we get some sort of a test in place, I think it’s inappropriate for us to even move forward on this issue.”

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Governor-elect Lamont sees it differently. He told News 8, “We’re not on the ‘bleeding edge’ of this. There’s a lot of other states that have a history here and, in fact, it’s brought down opioid abuse and other things in other states.” 

Massachusetts legalized marijuana by referendum. The voters overwhelmingly approved it two years ago. It can’t be done that way here because Connecticut does not have referendum by initiative petition. Here, it must be approved by a majority vote in Connecticut House and Senate and signed by the Governor.