HARTFORD – Democratic committee leaders announced the first drafts of bills on Thursday to legalize recreational cannabis in Connecticut.
The bill is comprehensive, split into three main areas including regulation, decriminalization and monetization. So, the three committees of the legislature with cognizance over those areas are the General Law Committee, the Judiciary Committee and the Finance Committee.
“Legalizing a substance that has been illegal for more than 80 years is a complicated process,” said state representative Mike D’Agostino (D).
D’Agostino said the plan is to have licenses for cultivators, manufacturers and retail.
“You will be able to have a combined cultivation and manufacturing facility in the same location and be the same owner,” said D’Agostino. “You cannot be a cultivator and own a retail facility.”
Committee leaders also discussed how other states have gone about legalizing recreational cannabis, mentioning their plans to mimic the way Massachusetts has approached taxing.
As far as home-grow goes, the conversation continues.
“There’s a very powerful advocate community that thinks, it’s just like tomatoes and you should be able to grow that like you grow anything else,” said D’Agostino.
But committee leaders have come to an understanding about “equity applicants,” defined as people living in areas affected by higher rates of drug-related arrests and convictions, or those with prior convictions of possession. Those folks would have the opportunity to apply for licenses three months before everyone else.
“There’s been… a negative impact on communities of color and we want to be able to address that in this bill with our equity applicant process,” said D’Agostino.
D’Agostino emphasized the fact that all of these points are just the start of a conversation and a lot is likely to change going forward.
For more information on the most recent effort to legalize cannabis in Connecticut, click here.