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Lawmakers vote 21-19 in favor of legalizing recreational marijuana in CT

 HARTFORD --   The state of Connecticut is one step closer to legalizing cannabis.

21-19, those were the final number of votes from the Judiciary Committee after Monday’s meeting.

The committee passed Bill 1085 that not only consist of legalizing marijuana, but also grants a second opportunity for those who have been convicted in the past for small amounts.

Following Bill 1085, two more bills were passed that lawmakers said received more support from both sides of the aisle.

Bill 1089 is an act concerning the workplace allowing employers to implement policies banning workers from coming to the job while under the influence. Bill 7372 is an act increasing the penalties for those driving while under the influence.

The bill received push back from many Republicans - citing concerns such as teen use and people driving under the influence.

“I think it’s a major step backwards from where this committee has gone to protect our children especially,” State Rep. Richard Smith (R) said.

“I don't think this is the right direction for the State of Connecticut, I think this sends a terrible message to our young people,” State Senator John Kessel (R) said.

Lawmakers are now looking to address as many of their concerns as possible in regards to regulation.

“Continue to reach out, continue to express your concerns, continue to work with us,” House Chairman Steven Stafstrom said.

All of the state’s bills concerning cannabis will now be combined together after negotiations and then voted on by the Full House and Senate.

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