HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) - Advocates for legal recreational marijuana held a rally in Hartford on Tuesday afternoon.

That's where they urged lawmakers to pass a bill that would make recreational pot legal in Connecticut.

The state's Judiciary Committee passed the bill two weeks ago.

RELATED: Lawmakers move closer to legalizing marijuana in Connecticut

Some Democrats are on board, including Gov. Ned Lamont.

"I don't want to surrender this to the underground market. I don't want to surrender it to outside markets," he said.

A recent Pew Research poll found 60 percent of people nationwide support recreational and medicinal marijuana, compared with only 8 percent who oppose any usage.

Connecticut is also losing potential tax revenue to surrounding states.

However, many Republicans are not and said they want the federal government's blessing.

New York recently joined Massachusetts in legalizing marijuana, and Rhode Island is also strongly considering it.

A group of Democrats said Lamont’s bill doesn’t do enough to help people who have been hurt by the prohibition on marijuana.

“We really believe that the communities most impacted by the war on drugs should benefit the most,” said Jason Ortiz, policy director for CURE Connecticut.

Representative Robyn Porter proposed a bill that would completely legalize pot, including growing it at home.

People convicted of marijuana-related charges could clear their records and have priority in license to open a marijuana business.

“I would urge everybody to hold their fire, let’s take a look at what the overall agenda is,” Lamont had said.

His proposal doesn't do those things, but would send some of the tax revenue back into communities hurt by the war on drugs.

However, when he addressed reporters recently, he didn’t appear willing to accept some of the other demands.

House Majority Leader Jason Rojas said he hopes both sides can find a middle ground.

Democrats have huge majorities in both chambers, but Rojas is worried competing factions could hold up a controversial vote.

“There are other factions within the caucus whose votes we need, too,” Rojas said.

Both bills have moved past their respective committees.

The General Assembly still needs to take up the bill.

The legislative session ends on June 9.

Copyright 2021 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.


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(1) comment


"many Republicans are not and said they want the federal government's blessing." Well, typically, when laws are wholesale overturned by the federal government, it begins at the state level. When cannabis was mad illegal federally, it had already been made illegal by numerous states before the federal government got on board. But, not paying attention to historical facts isn't in the republicans wheelhouse, anyway.

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