A Connecticut House committee on Thursday approved a bill to legalize marijuana, a notable development as lawmakers work to reconcile what they’re proposing with the governor’s reform plan.
The measure, sponsored by Rep. Robyn Porter (D), cleared the legislature’s Labor and Public Employees Committee in a 9-4 vote. Advocates have cheered the bill’s emphasis on social equity in the industry, and there’s optimism its language could be incorporated into Gov. Ned Lamont’s (D) legalization proposal, which they have said is inadequate as introduced.
Porter, who chairs the labor panel, said ending cannabis prohibition is “needed because of the disproportionate impact and damage that it has done to black and brown and poor communities, and it does need to be regulated in a way that provides equity to those who have been harmed the most.”
“The train has left the station, and I feel like Connecticut is actually playing catch up,” she said. “Our surrounding states are on board, and there are states across this nation that have done it already.”
Unlike the governor’s plan, this piece of legislation, which was amended in committee, would allow home cultivation of up to six cannabis plants and would license social consumption sites. It also includes additional language on cannabis gifting and social equity applicants.
The amendment adds provisions from Lamont’s bill concerning roadside testing for impairment, and it specifies 12 jurisdictions in the state where businesses would be eligible for exclusive access to community reinvestment funding for the first five years of implementation.
“We are overjoyed to see an equity-centered legalization bill pass with the support of so many communities,” Jason Ortiz, president of the Minority Cannabis Business Association who served as chair of the governor’s cannabis licensing working group last year, told Marijuana Moment. “Our bill is closely aligned