HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) – There’s another push to legalize marijuana in Connecticut.
State Democrat's plan to put forth another bill to regulate and tax marijuana. They’ve tried before, but it’s never had a full vote.
Many neighboring states have legalized marijuana and some lawmakers feel Connecticut should join them, but it’s controversial and it’s not clear if there are enough votes to pass it.
Marijuana has been debated for years in Connecticut. Last year, a bill to legalize it passed committees, but failed to get a vote in the House or Senate.
Democrats want to get it passed this year.
“Many states now have medical marijuana legal and an increasing number now have general legalization,” said Senator Martin Looney, Democratic Senate President.
The plan by Senate Democrats is to legalize marijuana and tax it. The state ales tax of 6.35 percent would be added, plus a special sales tax of 25 percent.
Revenue in the first year they say would be $71 million. After that, there would be an additional tax of $50 an ounce and revenue could jump to $166 million per year.
Their plan would also provide some economic help to inner cities struggling with drug dealing and crime.
“There are a number of people who went to jail, destroyed communities, destroyed livelihoods, in an attempt to make a way in this cannabis business,” said Senator Dough McCrory.
However, new research shows smoking marijuana can cause an abnormal heart rhythm, which can lead to a heart attack or possibly stroke. That same study also found marijuana can interfere with certain medications.
Republican Representative Vinny Candelora says the state is learning more and more and there’s concern.
“You have to look at the issues of driving under the influence of marijuana, of regulations which communities are going to house these types of stores. All of those issues need to be taken under consideration,” Candelora said.
Unlike other states like California, where they have referendums and people can vote on marijuana, Connecticut must pass it legislatively or have a constitutional amendment.
Governor Ned Lamont has said he supports legalized marijuana.