Top Connecticut lawmakers announced on Friday that they have finally reached a deal on a bill to legalize marijuana, and they’re now circulating the finalized language among members ahead of votes that are expected soon.
Following weeks of talks with Gov. Ned Lamont’s (D) office, House Majority Leader Jason Rojas (D) said negotiators now have a “pencils down” agreement. But lawmakers will need to move quickly if they hope to pass the legislation ahead of Wednesday’s end of session deadline.
“Now we can actually go to people and say this is the final product,” House Speaker Matt Ritter (D) said.
“We’re done negotiating and taking all the wonderful ideas that people have wanted to contribute to this piece of legislation,” Rojas added.
But while the lawmakers gave some detail about the basic components of the proposal, the text is still not publicly available.
Watch the House leaders discuss the marijuana legalization deal, around 14:40 and 21:40 into the video below:
The main changes that have been worked into the legislation have been “strengthening our attempts to ensure that this new marketplace is really open to as broad a spectrum of individuals who want to enter that marketplace than just having large corporate or over-capitalized interest dominating the market,” Rojas said.
Ritter emphasized that the bill will need to move “quickly” to the Senate floor, and that needs to happen before Wednesday in order to avoid having opponents kill the measure by running out the clock.
Asked about the prospects of garnering bipartisan support, the majority leader said Republicans “live up to libertarian values that I think some of them hold, yes, but we’ll see.”
“It’s an almost 300-page document—one of the most complicated pieces of legislation I’ve ever been involved with, we’re standing up an entirely new market,” he said.