Connecticut could become the nineteenth U.S. state to legalize marijuana on June 8, after the state’s legislature made major changes to a measure that had failed to pass the last two years. The legislation, which still needs to receive Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s (D) signature, would legalize the possession of up to one ounce of marijuana and its cultivation by individuals and businesses that are “registered nonprofit marijuana clubs.” It would also create a system of taxation and licensing of marijuana sales.
In November, Connecticut will vote on whether to legalize recreational marijuana, making it the 19th state to allow patients to legally smoke pot with a doctor’s recommendation. The vote comes after a campaign backed by a wealthy backer helped the state legislature pass a marijuana legalization bill last summer, but the governor vetoed the bill. Activists are hoping that voters will override that veto, in order to become the first state to legalize marijuana through a popular vote.
The Connecticut House of Representatives voted (76-62) in favor of a bill that would legalize cannabis for adults 21 and older. The bill, introduced by Senate President Martin Looney and House Speaker Matt Ritter, will now go back to the Senate for final approval before it lands on the desk of Governor Ned Lamont, who is expected to sign it. S.B. 1201 and a nearly identical bill, S.B. 1118, passed the Senate by 19-12 and 19-17 votes, respectively. The Senate will reconvene tomorrow at 9:30 a.m. to consider the House-passed version of S.B. 1201 and a separate bill. If the governor signs it, Connecticut will become the 19th state. state to legalize cannabis for adults 21 and older, and the fourth state to adopt a legalization policy this year, after New Mexico, New York and Virginia. The Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) has played a leading role in the fight to reform Connecticut’s cannabis laws. Connecticut is about to become the last state to legalize cannabis, the congressman said. This year has shown us that lawmakers are capable of meeting the challenge of ending cannabis prohibition. The vast majority of Americans have made it clear that they prefer a system of legalization and regulation to the status quo. This victory will spur cannabis policy reform in other states and at the federal level. S.B. 1201 legalizes possession of up to an ounce and a half for adults 21 years of age and older. The law takes effect on 1. July 2021, with legal sales expected in May 2022. Under the bill, the criminal records of persons convicted between 1. January 2000 and June 30, 2000. September 2015 were convicted of cannabis possession, is automatically expunged. Individuals who were born before 1. July 2021 Anyone convicted of possessing and selling less than four ounces can apply to the court for a free expungement of their criminal record. The full text of the bill is available here.
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