As top Connecticut lawmakers work to wrap up negotiations for an expedited vote on a marijuana legalization bill with the end of the session looming, progressive Democrats are tempering expectations about the timeline and insisting that any finalized proposal must comprehensively address social equity.
House Majority Leader Jason Rojas (D) said on Tuesday that leadership hopes to finalize the legislation by Tuesday, with a vote in the Senate possible “later this week.”
Gov. Ned Lamont’s (D) office and lawmakers have been frequently meeting to negotiate the details of the reform proposal. But time is running short, with the end of the session coming on June 9, and neither the governor nor leadership are particularly interested in coming back to tackle the issue in a special session.
If progressives are going to get on board, however, extra time may be needed. An initial caucusing of members late last week resulted in pushback, as lawmakers said they did not want to sign on to legalization in concept without seeing actual legislative text to ensure that it effectively addresses the harms of the drug war.
“We really have to see some of the sticking points around the equity, around expungement, around members of the community that have been impacted by this war on drugs, having access to seed-to-sale economic opportunity and also home grow,” Rep. Anne Hughes (D), cochair of the Progressive Caucus, told Marijuana Moment in a phone interview on Tuesday. “We either end prohibition on cannabis or we don’t.”
“I keep saying, I think the governor’s team is all about how much racism do we get to keep in this scenario?” she said, referencing policies that her caucus feel do not adequately address the harms of the drug war. “It’s like, no, we want to do it right.”
Last week, the