HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Connecticut lawmakers pushing for legalized recreational marijuana heard today from the Deputy House Speaker of Colorado.
They also heard from members of the public who say legalized recreational marijuana is the next logical step and it would raise a lot of needed revenue for the state. Advocates for legalizing the recreational use of marijuana say there is a huge underground retailing market in this right now and that taking it out of the hands of organized crime and taxing it makes more sense.
Almost two dozen states, including Connecticut, have some form of legalized marijuana. Most, like Connecticut, have legalized it for medical purposes. Four states, including Colorado, have legalized it for recreational use. Regulating and taxing it like tobacco and alcohol. Several more states are considering it.
Today, Connecticut state lawmakers questioned the Deputy Speaker of the Colorado House who said it is raising more than $100 million a year for that state.
“At the end of the day this is a product that can be regulated and regulated well as we’ve demonstrated in Colorado,” said Rep. Dan Pabon (D-Denver).
Advocates of bringing legal weed to Connecticut far out numbered opponents today.
Like Joe LaChance of Milford who said, “Canabis prohibition hasn’t worked. It is time; we have decriminalized here in Connecticut, we have medical marijuana here in Connecticut, It’s time to take the next step.”
The Colorado law prohibits sales to anyone under 21, requires packaging that is not enticing to children and the taxes help pay for abuse prevention, but opponents say that’s not the whole truth.
“There really are toxic affects on teenage brains. This is something that Connecticut should be talking about here at the hearing today and they’re not,” says William Huhn of Guilford.
Lisa Ott of Guilford adding, “There’s a tremendous cost to kids and to society from legalization. Colorado is starting to see it; fatal car accidents involving marijuana have tripled.”
That was denied today by Representative Pabon who says there has been no noticeable increase.
But the principle opponent of recreational legalization is Gov. Malloy, “I think when you legalize marijuana you’re encouraging marijuana and that’s not the place I want to go.”
The principle advocate in the legislature is Rep. Juan Candeloria (D-New Haven), “This conversation will continue and maybe not this year but next year we can really begin to have a serious dialogue and move this forward.”
Rep. Candelaria has support from many other lawmakers from the New Haven area and elsewhere around the state. The advocates note that because we have 4 licensed marijuana growers and 9 dispensaries for medical purposes the apparatus for full legalization is already in place.