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The State of Marijuana: Connecticut

March 4, 2017

 

Remember the time when you blamed your friend Bobby for making you cut class and your mom flipped out and screamed, "If your friend Bobby jumped off a cliff, would you jump too?" You sigh, "No mom, of course not." Now, what if your friend Bobby was actually the state of Massachusetts and instead of jumping off a cliff, he was passing marijuana reform?

 

I know, kind of a stretch, but I think this analogy perfectly describes the current state of Connecticut. Just last year, Connecticut's eternal brother Massachusetts passed legislation allowing the recreational use of marijuana. This is big news for the country, as Massachusetts and Maine became the first states on the east coast to go all the way. Not every state is too happy about it, though.

 

Connecticut now has to deal with preventing illegal marijuana from crossing its state borders. Marijuana is still very much an illegal substance in the state even though last year it actually looked like Connecticut might jump off the cliff with Massachusetts. Unfortunately, the bill didn't pass. 

 

Medical Marijuana in Connecticut

 

Connecticut has already had quite a history with weed. All the way back in 2012, Connecticut legalized medical marijuana and even set up nine dispensaries for the state's resident's to purchase their medication. Even though the state's citizens can only purchase their medication in the one dispensary in which they are registered, Connecticut is already leagues ahead of the majority of the country where even most medical states don't set up legal dispensaries. 

 

Public Support for Cannabis in Connecticut

 

Connecticut's public support, too, is much higher than most of the country with 63% supporting complete legalization according to a 2015 survey by Quinnipiac. Even the state's penalties seem tame compared to everywhere else. Any possession of less than a half ounce is just a civil offense with a $150 fine for the first offense and $500 for the second. You can get a felony and some jail time if your caught with more than 4 ounces or are caught growing or cultivating, though.

 

With so much public support, what gives? Why didn't Connecticut jump off the cliff with Massachusetts last year and legalize it?

 

Even though 63% of the state's citizens support legalization, the state's government is another story. Governor Dannel Malloy, specifically, has been known to be an ardent opponent of marijuana legalization in the state. He went as far to say, "I think it's a mistake what Massachusetts has done and other states have done," referring to recreational legalization. The Governor refused to sign any legislation on the mater, even though the majority of his state would like him to do otherwise. 

 

Optimistic for the Future

 

As the dust settles, it seems like the Governor might be beginning to change his mind. 2017 is a new year and it looks like marijuana is going to be on the table again after Senator President Pro Tem Martin Looney announced that he's pre-filed legislation to regulate and tax marijuana like the state does to alcohol. The Governor's main concern, it seems, is preventing any legislation from being drafted by the people that grow and sell marijuana. He wants to make sure, if it ever passes, that Connecticut's legalization generates enough tax revenue to mitigate the negative affects he perceives legalization to have.

 

So, there does seem to be some light at the end of the tunnel. Connecticut is simply too liberal to keep marijuana legalization from coming its way, even if the Governor will do everything in his powers to stop it. It looks like Connecticut may follow its friend after all and jump off that cliff. Instead of falling thousands of feet to its death, though, it looks like it'll land on a big old pile of kush. 

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