The Connecticut appropriations committee voted 27-24 in favor of advancing a recreational marijuana bill Thursday, sending it to the full General Assembly, the Hartford Courant reported.
The legislation would require state officials to develop a plan to legalize and regulate marijuana, while also creating programs for substance abuse treatment, prevention, education and awareness.
They would have until Oct. 1 to complete their plan before submitting it to the General Assembly.
“This bill deserves an opportunity for further conversation and to get into the fine points of what that conversation would be,” Sen. Paul Formica (R) said of the legislation.
“This is one of those tough crossover issues that brings both a social and economic aspect with it, and with a number of states in the region having either already approved legalization and regulation, or are trending this way, it’s clearly something that deserves to be looked at,” House Speaker Joe Aresimowicz (D) said.
“While the bill was passed by the Appropriations committee,” Aresimowicz said, “it is still early in the process and I expect we will have continued discussions within the caucus, before it can be determined if it will be called for a vote in the House.”
Gov. Dannel Malloy (D), who has opposed marijuana legalization, said Thursday that he wasn’t sure if the state had “the resources [to establish a regulatory body.]”
“A legal marijuana plan would, in fact, require the employment of additional individuals,” Malloy said. “I’m not an advocate but I see this as a legislative decision and we’ll see what comes out or doesn’t come out.”
The American Civil Liberties Union of Connecticut said in a statement that the legislation “presents a chance for our state to further honor individual privacy rights, prevent discrimination and remedy the disparate burdens that marijuana prohibition has placed on youth, communities of color and poor communities throughout our state.”
Eight states and Washington, D.C., allow the recreational use of marijuana, while thirty states and D.C. allow it in some form.