HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) - Lawmakers hammered out the state budget as the legislative session came to an end on Wednesday night. 

It was the first bipartisan budget since 2018.

However, Democrats and Republicans continue to spar over legalizing recreational marijuana.

In fact, the House Speaker said there will be a special session to take up legalizing recreational marijuana.

Democrats and Republicans continue to spar over legalizing recreational marijuana.

He said Republicans who are against the legislation are planning to have lengthy debates, and since the session ends at midnight, there wouldn't be enough time to pass a bill.

Lawmakers will take up recreational marijuana in a special session.

"I’ve heard from my counterparts on the other side is they will talk until midnight, so what we will do is call ourselves back into session at a date and time of our choosing. We will do the budget implementer and the legalization of cannabis," House Speaker and Democratic State Rep. Matt Ritter.

Many Republicans don’t support it.

“Basically, someone can drive around, smoke marijuana as they are driving, and if that’s the only violation an officer sees, there’s nothing he can do,” said Republican State Senator Dan Champagne.

The plan is to come back within seven to 14 days because it will be special session. Recreational marijuana will have to be voted on in both chambers.

Democrats and Republicans continue to spar over legalizing recreational marijuana.

Calling lawmakers and staff back in for a special session will cost additional money.

Legislators returned to the capitol on Wednesday morning to continue the debate.

Overnight, lawmakers said they passed the two-year budget.

The state Senate approved the state budget on Wednesday night. It will now head to Governor Ned Lamont's desk. 

Lamont released a statement saying, “The bipartisan approval of the 2022-2023 biennial state budget sends a clear message to all of the residents of our great state – this is the most progressive, transformative, and life-changing budget our state has ever seen. We agreed across party lines that now is the time to ensure thousands of families have access to affordable childcare, the expansion of access to free and affordable healthcare will provide security to households, and investments in our future through workforce development will make our state stronger. The investments in equity will lift up our state for generations to come. I want to thank the co-chairs of the Appropriations and Finance Committees and the bipartisan leaders of the General Assembly for working with my administration to move our state forward with this budget.”

Legislators will return to the capitol later in Wednesday morning. Overnight, lawmakers said they passed the two-year budget.

This is a little bit unusual because normally the budget is the final piece of legislation that lawmakers hash out during the session. This year, there was greater consensus on the budget in large part because of billions of dollars in federal stimulus money. Legislators were able to craft a two-year $46 billion budget that does not call for any tax increases or spending cuts.

“It's a strong, aggressive bipartisan budget, on time and gives people a road map of where we are going to be two and four years out," Gov. Ned Lamont said on Wednesday.

Twenty-two House Republicans voted for it. It now heads to the Senate.

The House of Representatives also passed a truck mileage tax which requires that drivers of heavy weight trucks be charged a fee per mile.

It was something for which Lamont had been pushing.

“I congratulate the Connecticut General Assembly for making a concerted investment in our state’s infrastructure to improve our roads, bridges, and allowing us to provide even more support to public transit," Lamont said. "This highway use fee is designed to be paid by only one group of vehicles: the heaviest tractor trailers which do the most damage to our roads, especially those which use our state as a pass-through and never contribute to the improvement of our infrastructure. Those responsible for the most wear and tear of our roadways must compensate the state to ensure our residents have safer roads and bridges to drive on, and this proposal accomplishes that goal. I look forward to signing this into law, as it is a critical step forward for our state when it comes to competitiveness, keeping our economy growing, and providing for safer travel for our residents.”

The bill to legalize recreational marijuana passed narrowly in the state Senate and Lamont supports the idea, but Republicans in the House threatened to try and kill the bill through a filibuster if they can’t reach an agreement with Democrats.

Both sides still have some leverage because the governor has already said if no agreement is reached regarding marijuana before the session ends at midnight, he would have no qualms in calling for a special session dedicated to the issue.

The current legislative session ends at midnight.

Stay with Channel 3 for continuing coverage.

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

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(18) comments

JF71

Lets call the 'mileage fee' what it is, another tax on ct residents. How these idiots don't think this will increase the cost of goods and services is astonishing. Its almost as if they don't know how things actually get into the state. Maybe they think it grows on trees and just floats over to their homes? Who knows what fantasy land they live in, it sure isn't reality. Speaking of heavy, road damaging vehicles, when do the EV owners get a mileage fee? They pay nothing currently to use the roads, seems like they need to pay their "fair share" too no? Also, I hope all of you who voted for this are ready for it to be applied to all vehicles as that's next once this shows them how much more money they can steal from us. Hey at least you can dull the pain by getting stoned! Yay!

Brian Kelly

Marijuana consumers deserve and demand equal rights and protections under our laws that are currently afforded to the drinkers of far more dangerous and deadly, yet perfectly legal, widely accepted, endlessly advertised and even glorified as an All-American pastime, alcohol.

Plain and simple!

Legalize Nationwide!

Fear of Marijuana Legalization Nationwide is unfounded. Not based on any science or fact whatsoever. So please prohibitionists, we beg you to give your scare tactics, "Conspiracy Theories" and "Doomsday Scenarios" over the inevitable Legalization of Marijuana Nationwide a rest. Nobody is buying them anymore these days. Okay?

Furthermore, if all prohibitionists get when they look into that nice, big and shiny crystal ball of theirs, while wondering about the future of marijuana legalization, is horror, doom, and despair, well then I suggest they return that thing as quickly as possible and reclaim the money they shelled out for it, since it's obviously defective.

The prohibition of marijuana has not decreased the supply nor the demand for marijuana at all. Not one single iota, and it never will. Just a huge and complete waste of our tax dollars to continue criminalizing citizens for choosing a natural, non-toxic, relatively benign plant proven to be much safer than alcohol.

If prohibitionists are going to take it upon themselves to worry about "saving us all" from ourselves, then they need to start with the drug that causes more death and destruction than every other drug in the world COMBINED, which is alcohol!

Why do prohibitionists feel the continued need to vilify and demonize marijuana when they could more wisely focus their efforts on a real, proven killer, alcohol, which again causes more destruction, violence, and death than all other drugs, COMBINED?

Prohibitionists really should get their priorities straight and/or practice a little live and let live. They'll live longer, happier, and healthier, with a lot less stress if they refrain from being bent on trying to control others through Draconian Marijuana Laws.

FairBol

So let's talk about weed. I live in an apartment building that a chronic cannabis smoker also lives in. The stench of marijuana is usually overwhelming. It is so bad that at times, I find myself unable to breathe normally. In the event this bill passes into law, tell me....what am I to do? The smell will be 24/7...and I don't have the money to move out. And my landlord, who is pretty much handcuffed as it is, will be unable to do anything about the problem. So....what do you suggest I do, beat the guy up? Can't do that, otherwise I'll find myself in a jail cell. Any other options you can think of? Sure, I'll wait.

Dan7543

If your building is a smoke free place, which most apartment complexes are, you have some recourse. I suggest you look up what actions you can take. Don't whine in an anonymous news comment section.

Brian Kelly2

Anecdotal "Horror Stories" coming from vehemently vocal anti-marijuana types carry little weight.

Such "Horror Stories" and scare-tactics don't frighten, fool, nor convince anybody who has at least half a brain and has their very own internet access with Google.

Just saying...

Brian Kelly

Marijuana consumers deserve and demand equal rights and protections under our laws that are currently afforded to the drinkers of far more dangerous and deadly, yet perfectly legal, widely accepted, endlessly advertised and even glorified as an All-American pastime, alcohol.

Plain and simple!

Legalize Nationwide!

Fear of Marijuana Legalization Nationwide is unfounded. Not based on any science or fact whatsoever. So please prohibitionists, we beg you to give your scare tactics, "Conspiracy Theories" and "Doomsday Scenarios" over the inevitable Legalization of Marijuana Nationwide a rest. Nobody is buying them anymore these days. Okay?

Furthermore, if all prohibitionists get when they look into that nice, big and shiny crystal ball of theirs, while wondering about the future of marijuana legalization, is horror, doom, and despair, well then I suggest they return that thing as quickly as possible and reclaim the money they shelled out for it, since it's obviously defective.

Why do you feel justified in endlessly wasting billions upon billions of our yearly federal tax dollars continuing to arrest, criminalize, incarcerate, and hand out life long permanent criminal records to otherwise hard-working, tax-paying, adult citizens for choosing to consume marijuana although it is far safer than perfectly legal, widely accepted alcohol?

FairBol

Oh BTW....smoking cannabis impairs one's judgment and reaction time. In addition, marijuana is a gateway to other, harder drugs, such as heroin. Those are SCIENTIFIC FACTS. You need to read up on what cannabis does to the human body and brain.

Wayne Johnson

There has never been any proof given that marijuana users go on to harder drugs. That is just a rumor. Most people who do marijuana do that drug exclusively. Many who tried harder drugs revert back to marijuana because they liked it better. I believe all drugs should be legal. Let the user deal with it. Why should the Police have anything to do with it? What good does that do?

Dan7543

"In addition, marijuana is a gateway to other, harder drugs, such as heroin." BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA What a good propaganda parrot you are.

Brian Kelly2

The "Gateway Myth" has been proven false over and over again. Correlation doesn't equal causation. If "The Gateway Myth" had any merit to it whatsoever, then the true "Gateway Drugs" would logically be alcohol, nicotine and caffiene. Since just about every hard drug user out there most likely was using those perfectly legal, widely accpeted, endlessly advertised drugs way before they ever even thought about pot.

If prohibitionists really want to protect families from a drug proven to destroy lives and families, then they should be up in arms, protesting the legality of booze.

Alcohol is the drug that causes the most traffic fatalities, domestic violence, and overall detriment to society by a huge landslide. More so than all other drugs, combined.

Why doesn't that concern you prohibitionists even more? It should.

"Marijuana Is Gateway Drug" Theory Debunked, Again

-opposingviews.co...

"Marijuana a "Gateway" Drug? Scientists Call Theory Half-Baked"

-cbsnews.com/news...

"Marijuana as a Gateway Drug: The Myth That Will Not Die"

http://healthland.time.com/...

"Seven Studies That Debunk the Gateway Myth"

-norml.com/blog/2012...

Dan7543

No tax increases, how about that? Somehow, the republicans in this comment section will be upset about it, though.

Brian Kelly

The "War on Marijuana" has been a complete and utter failure. It is the largest component of the broader yet equally unsuccessful "War on Drugs" that has cost our country over a trillion dollars.

Instead of The United States wasting Billions upon Billions more of our yearly tax dollars fighting a never ending "War on Marijuana", lets generate Billions of dollars, and improve the deficit instead. It's a no brainer.

The Prohibition of Marijuana has also ruined the lives of many of our loved ones. In numbers greater than any other nation, our loved ones are being sent to jail and are being given permanent criminal records. Especially, if they happen to be of the "wrong" skin color or they happen to be from the "wrong" neighborhood. Which ruin their chances of employment for the rest of their lives, and for what reason?

Marijuana is much safer to consume than alcohol. Yet do we lock people up for choosing to drink?

Let's end this hypocrisy now!

The government should never attempt to legislate morality by creating victim-less marijuana "crimes" because it simply does not work and costs the taxpayers a fortune.

Marijuana Legalization Nationwide is an inevitable reality that's approaching much sooner than prohibitionists think and there is nothing they can do to stop it!

Legalize Nationwide! Support Each and Every Marijuana Legalization Initiative!

FairBol

Just to point something out. At one time, the regular smoking cigarettes was a "reality". We now know what that does to the lungs, body, and brain. Basically, smoking cigarettes are cancer in stick form. Are you suggesting that the government should endorse behavior such as this? (FYI, my father died of cancer from smoking, around 5 years ago)

Dan7543

Could you find a case where a cannabis only smoker got lung cancer? Please, show us the data that proves cannabis causes cancer.

Brian Kelly2

What we certainly don't need are anymore people who feel justified in appointing themselves to be self-deputized morality police.

We are very capable of choosing for ourselves if we want to consume cannabis, a far less dangerous choice over perfectly legal, widely accepted alcohol and cigarettes, and we definitely don't need anyone dictating how we live our own lives.

We can't just lock up everyone who does things prohibitionists don't personally approve of.

Wayne Johnson

I agree 100%

Dan7543

you agree because you don't have all the information and are going on false, outdated propaganda.

Brian Kelly2

There is absolutely no doubt now that the majority of Americans want to completely legalize marijuana nationwide. Our numbers grow on a daily basis.

The prohibitionist view on marijuana is the viewpoint of a minority and rapidly shrinking percentage of Americans. It is based upon decades of lies and propaganda.

Each and every tired old lie they have propagated has been thoroughly proven false by both science and society.

Their tired old rhetoric no longer holds any validity. The vast majority of Americans have seen through the sham of marijuana prohibition in this day and age. The number of prohibitionists left shrinks on a daily basis.

With their credibility shattered, and their not so hidden agendas visible to a much wiser public, what's left for a marijuana prohibitionist to do?

Maybe, just come to terms with the fact that Marijuana Legalization Nationwide is an inevitable reality that's approaching much sooner than prohibitionists think, and there is nothing they can do to stop it!

Legalize Nationwide!...and Support All Marijuana Legalization Efforts!

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