State Legislators looking into legalizing recreational marijuana

HARTFORD -- A bi-partisan push is under way at the State Capitol to legalize marijuana for casual use.

"I don't think we can put our head in the sand and pretend that this issue is not on our back door," said State Rep. Melissa Ziobron (R- East Haddam.) "I don't think we can pretend that it's not going to be an issue for us in the future and I'd much rather control the outcome than allow it to happen inevitably."

Ziobron, a Republican, is sponsoring a bill which would allow the sale and taxing of marijuana for people who are 21 years and older.

Democrats are in the process of forming their own legislation. "We think it's something that should be looked at there are a bunch of different ways of approaching this," said State Sen. Gary Winfield,  Assistant Senate Majority Leader. "I just think it's the way that things are happening in this country and think about it, when you have half the country that, in some form, has legalized marijuana, it's gotta say to you that this is not a partisan issue."

Both lawmakers cited a 2015 Quinnipiac poll showing roughly 60% of Connecticut voters are in favor of some form of legalization for casual use.

The taxable sales of pot would help the state during a tough economic time. Connecticut is dealing with a budget gap of up to $1.5 billion dollars and the tax revenue, supporters say, would help reduce that number.

Governor Dannel Malloy said he's not in favor of any sort of legalization and urged lawmakers to use caution when considering the option.

Massachusetts legalized recreational pot in November.

No timeline on when any potential bills would make it to a vote.

"For us to not allow that conversation to happen at the Capitol is a travesty," said Ziobron.