Garrett Kirk ’24
As of April 2021, over a dozen states have fully legalized the recreational use of cannabis. While Connecticut has decriminalized the drug, the legislature has not yet fully legalized it for recreational use like states such as Washington, California, Nevada, and recently New York, have. The Tripod sat down with Connecticut House Majority Leader and Trinity College Chief of Staff to the President, Associate Vice President for External Affairs Jason Rojas to discuss the possible impact of Connecticut legalizing cannabis.
Rojas told the Tripod that he sees there being benefits for the Hartford community if cannabis is legalized, saying for example, that he thinks “if anything it will provide some form of equity or justice,” as the legal repercussions differ drastically for a Trinity student that is caught with cannabis compared to a Hartford resident who lives a few streets over.
Cannabis’ legalization could also provide further equity in the economic realm, as this would lead to new job opportunities in the cannabis industry that were not previously available, Rojas added. Rojas additionally advocates for reinvesting the tax revenue back into communities and programs, emphasizing to the Tripod that the discussion has not been centered about whether to give this money back, but where and how to invest the money.
In the bill that was recently voted out of the Judiciary Committee, proposals for tax revenue include a variety of investment strategies, including adult education in the correction system to help prepare inmates for life after prison, local non-profit organizations that serve under resourced neighborhoods such as Frog Hollow, as well as counseling services and rehabilitation programs.
Rojas additionally discussed using the tax dollars derived from possible cannabis sales to provide low interest grants or loans to prospective small business operators. This