HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) - Recreational marijuana passed its first hurdle on Monday afternoon.
Ten states and the District of Columbia legalized recreational marijuana and Connecticut could be next after the the General Law Committee approved one of several pot-related bills under consideration.
The one taken up on Monday spelled out details of a legalized system, including who could buy it and even grow it.
The General Law Committee passed it. The Judiciary Committee votes on its bills on Thursday.
The bill establishes a new cannabis control commission within the Department of Consumer Protection.
It allows people ages 21 and older to buy marijuana. It also studies whether or not consumers can grow it themselves.
Representative Mike D'Agastino told Channel 3 that the licensing process must be fair in legalizing recreational marijuana.
"Massachusetts had a lot of language about equity and the industry was open to a lot of participants," said Rep. D'Agastino. "Two years later that has not been the case. Only a few players control the industry there."
The 10 to 8 vote was along party lines, but two other committees have their own bills concerning impaired driving, training for law enforcement, and tax.
However, some local police departments claim the science and technology are not there yet to detect impairment. They argue training for officers to recognize impaired drivers is comprehensive and long. They described it as far from a basic academy class.
Republican Representative Vinnie Candelora opposes the legislation claiming marijuana poses serious impacts on youth.
"What we have seen in other states is the marketing to the children to get them young and get them hooked, so you see products like gummy bears coming out, and flavored sodas," said Candelora.
"Its the same track that the vaping has taken."
On the other hand, supporters of legalizing pot said lawmakers should pass the legislation and work out the details afterward.
Supports are hoping for one merged bill which would be voted on the General Assembly.