HARTFORD — Lawmakers in the Connecticut state legislature failed to take a vote on marijuana legalizing recreational marijuana. However, the budget vote that took place at the same time was the first bipartisan budget passed in the state since the 2018 session.
Since marijuana legalization is still so divided between the Democrats and the Republicans, the House Speaker said that there would be a special session shortly to take up the issue of legalizing recreational marijuana and regulating it.
Democrat Matt Ritter, the house speaker, added in remarks: “The confusing part is all we had to do is get a vote we would get a 14-hour, 16-hour debate. All they are doing is delaying the vote. I just don’t understand it.”
“A special session must be convened so that lawmakers can finish the job. Marginalized communities and young people have suffered for decades because of the disproportionate enforcement of marijuana laws in Connecticut. This bill is a step toward addressing that shameful legacy and it will provide long-needed relief to communities that have historically experienced the collateral consequences of marijuana prohibition. It also would conform Connecticut’s marijuana laws with those of a growing number of neighboring states — like New Jersey, New York, and Vermont — that have wisely moved away from cannabis criminalization and have embraced legalization and regulation,” said Carly Wolf, the state policies manager for the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.
House Minority Leader Vin Candelora, a Republican, says differently.
“For them to just suggest we should shut up and sit in the corner is not appropriate for the legislative body,” said Candelora.
“It is unbecoming of this chamber…It’s one-party rule in the State of Connecticut. It’s the height of arrogance to say to somehow ‘this is your fault that we’re not gonna choke down their legislation before we even get to go through it before we give our input.”
The bill is a little bit unusual because normally, the budget is the final legislative proposal that lawmakers from both chambers hash out.
Democratic Gov. Ned Lamont said that the House delaying the cannabis vote is problematic.
“Something about a talker. You guys can explain that to me,” Lamont said via a tweet from journalist John Craven of News 12 CT.
Lamont also said that he’s pleased with this year’s bi-partisan budget passage of a truck user fee. These policy wins run counter, however, to our work on vaping and marijuana.