SOUTH WINDSOR, CT (WFSB) - Connecticut is coming closer to legalizing recreational marijuana.
On Thursday, lawmakers unveiled multiple bills that would let anyone over 21 buy pot.
Some of these ideas come with an aggressive timeline.
At Prime Wellness on Route 5 in South Windsor, only people with medical marijuana cards can go there to buy pot.
By the end of the year, that could change and anyone over 21 could be a customer.
“Legalizing a substance that has been illegal for more than 80 years is a complicated process,” said Michael D’Agostino.
A handful of House Democrats presented their first draft on Thursday and Michael D’Agostino from the General Law Committee, says it will undoubtedly change, but there’s certain specifics being discussed.
First, the state would decriminalize up to one and a half ounces of marijuana, while erasing criminal records for anyone convicted of possessing under one and a half ounces.
“We looked at a number of states, Massachusetts, Colorado,” said D’Agostino.
To fast track sales, the nine current medical dispensaries would open its doors to the general public. Prime Wellness could be one of them.
“If it’s to help them out, why not? Let them get their own marijuana instead of coming out to get it from other people, why not,” said Angela O’Neal.
Locals like it and neighboring businesses like The Pub do too.
“The state’s got to grab some of the revenue that this will bring in, it’s only going to increase traffic for us,” said Greg Mason, The Pub owner.
Even if the state ultimately legalizes recreational marijuana, each town will have the final say.
“We’re not going to impose cultivation or retail facility in a specific location,” said D’Agostino.
But after speaking with the town manager, it might not fly in South Windsor.
“No, if you want to do it, go build a facility someplace, fund it by the state and have it done. If we are going to do it, there would have to be some huge financial incentives for towns,” said Matthew Galligan, South Windsor Town Manager.
The tax structure is something lawmakers are still working on.
They anticipate a 20 percent combined tax, similar to Massachusetts, but haven’t specified how that 20 percent will be split.
“A town should be looking at a sales tax rate or greater,” said Galligan.
At this point there’s no projected revenue.
Lawmakers are hesitant to release those figures until the tax situation can be worked out.
Another thing this bill tackles is home growing. Lawmakers say they will study the possibility of home growth for up to 12 plants.
More than 32,000 people in the state have medical marijuana license and the legalization could be good for the card holders.
Lawmakers say they want to reduce, maybe even eliminate fees that medical patients are currently paying.