A bill that would legalize recreational marijuana in Connecticut seems fated to die in a judiciary committee due to lack of support from legislators.
"It's clear at this point that there isn't support on the committee for it,'' said state Rep. William Tong, co-chair of the committee. "It's not an open question. It's not ambiguous.'' Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy is opposed to recreational legalization, and support from a full two-thirds of the state General Assembly would be needed to override his veto.
A recent poll found that 63% of Connecticut residents support legalization. "I believe that Connecticut is ready for a rational, common-sense approach to the legalization and regulation of marijuana," said Senate President Pro Tem Martin Looney. "States across the country are reaping the financial benefits of marijuana regulation. With our neighbor Massachusetts poised to be the next state to implement a legalization plan, Connecticut is in danger of being left at a financial disadvantage."
Opponents of the bill are not convinced, however. “I wouldn't want to pass recreational marijuana in the state of Connecticut simply because of fiscal reasons,'' House Speaker Joe Aresimowicz said. "Our caucus is really split on it.”
Lawmakers have argued over the bill for 11 months, and requested two public hearings. The public health committee “didn't even have the votes to draft the language,” however, according to deputy House Republican Leader Vincent Candelora.
"There certainly was more people who felt more strongly about it this year than I've ever seen,'' House Republican Leader Themis Klarides said Wednesday. "But I don't think there was ever an appetite to actually do it this year.''