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

Politics

(WTNH) — The State Senate is expected to take up the issue of legalizing recreational marijuana in Connecticut, and lawmakers are pushing for a vote for it before they adjourn June 9.

A recent Sacred Heart University poll showed an overwhelming 64% of those surveyed support recreational marijuana either somewhat or strongly. Just 18% strongly oppose it.

That may be why the Speaker of the House, State Rep. Matthew Ritter (D), is seeing legislation change their minds.

Ritter said, “I’m struck by the number of people that I thought were ‘nos’ previously, or ‘maybes’ who are kind of getting there.”

Lawmakers are currently ironing out how to make sure it’s equitable so that communities that were hurt by drugs can get a chunk of the business. Equity also involves erasing criminal records for doing something that would be no longer criminal.

In Massachusetts, recreational marijuana is now legal. The state sees long lines with people looking to buy the heavily taxed product. While Democrats are optimistic the same thing could happen in Connecticut, there are some concerns.

“People that are vaping 90% THC, it’s led to a lot of other health issues,” Rep. Vin Candelora (R) said, “We need to have these conversations.”

Studies have shown states that legalized marijuana have seen an increase in suicides, mental health issues, and in serious automobile crashes. That’s according to the Connecticut State Medical Society’s President, Dr. Gregory Shangold.

“There are clear studies that show using marijuana up to four hours after you use it, it affects your driving,” said Dr. Shangold. “In Colorado, they saw a double in car accident fatalities when it was legalized.”

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