Connecticut Governor Renews Cannabis Legalization Push, Proposes Legalization Bill
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Connecticut Governor Renews Cannabis Legalization Push, Proposes Legalization Bill

Gov. Ned Lamont’s legalization efforts were unsuccessful last year, but the Democrat has plans to try again in 2020.

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February 7, 2020

Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont is renewing his push to legalize adult-use cannabis, and has introduced a legalization bill for lawmakers to consider during the 2020 legislative session.

Lamont announced during his Feb. 5 State of the State address that legalization is necessary to keep Connecticuters safe, according to a CBS New York report. Lamont also reiterated his desire for a regional approach to cannabis policy reform.

“Legalized marijuana is just a short drive away in Massachusetts and New York is soon to follow,” he said during his State of the State address. “I believe that a coordinated, regional regulation is our best chance to protect public health by displacing illicit sellers and replacing them with trusted providers.”

Lamont joined the governors of Pennsylvania and New Jersey at New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Regional Cannabis Regulation and Vaping Summit in October, where the governors took initial steps to explore a unified adult-use legalization plan for the Northeast states.

Lamont has worked for several weeks with the chairmen of key legislative committees and has proposed comprehensive legislation to legalize adult-use cannabis for adults 21 and older, test for impaired drivers, and support racial and ethnic minorities in their participation in a forthcoming adult-use market in the state, according to The Wilton Bulletin.

Under Lamont’s proposal, retail sales would launch in the summer of 2022, and dispensaries would be able to deliver products directly to consumers, the news outlet reported.

Lamont’s bill would create the Cannabis Equity Commission to regulate and oversee the industry, and the new agency would be headed by the commissioner of the Department of Consumer Protection, who already oversees the Connecticut’s medical cannabis program, according to The Wilton Bulletin.

Although Lamont urged the General Assembly to pass a legalization bill last year, the 2019 legislative session ultimately ended without any adult-use proposals clearing the legislature.

This year, Speaker of the House Joe Aresimowicz and House Majority Leader Matt Ritter are optimistic that a legalization bill could pass during this year’s 13-week session, The Wilton Bulletin reported.