At the end of last week (March 14), lawmakers in Connecticut’s Assembly held a press conference at which they outlined a plan to legalize recreational marijuana in the state.
Rep. Michael D’Agostino, the chair of the General Law Committee, led the proceedings by giving a brief outline of the legalization plan.
He revealed that three major areas would be looked at when pushing the legalization plan forward. These are regulation, monetization and decriminalization. These three areas would be handled by different committees that are mandated to legislate in those areas.
D’Agostino added that the different committees would formulate various bills covering the cannabis legalization areas within their mandate before all those different bills are merged into one comprehensive bill. This will be after the committee bills are modified and agreed upon by all or most of the committee members.
The chair of the House Judiciary Committee (Rep. Steve Stafstrom) was next on the microphone and he talked about the three bills in his committee. One was focused on legalizing cannabis possession by adults 21 or older while also laying out how marijuana misdemeanor crimes would be expunged from the criminal records of residents.
A second bill in this committee looks at issues of impaired driving. One notable provision of this bill would see resources ring-fenced for training law enforcement to be experts at recognizing and screening drivers who may be under the influence.
The third bill for this committee will absolve employers from making any exceptions for employees who use weed. This means that if the bill becomes law, an employer may refuse to hire anyone who tests positive for marijuana, or fire an employee who is under the influence at work.
Rep. Jason Rojas, who sits on the Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee spoke about the tax structure that Connecticut may adopt once recreational marijuana is permitted. He revealed that they were cautious and would propose a 20 percent tax so that Connecticut’s weed doesn’t cost more than what is available in Massachusetts where adult-use cannabis retails sales are already a reality.
Otherwise, people may buy recreational cannabis out-of-state instead of spending their money on Connecticut’s supply. The details of the tax structure would be made clearer in due course, Rojas added.
What came out strongly during the press briefing was that it is still early days to start talking timelines to the availability of recreational cannabis. A lot of work needs to be done to get the law in place, and this fact is brought home by the memory of what happened last year when legalization by legislative means failed after a bill that had been passed by a slim majority in the Appropriations Committee was stalled by the House Speaker until the end of the legislative session.
Hope is high this time round since Democrats control both chambers. Choom Holdings Inc. (CSE: CHOO) (OTCQB: CHOOF) and Earth Science Tech, Inc. (OTCQB: ETST) wish the cannabis advocates good luck as they try to get the people of Connecticut to enjoy what the residents of 10 other U.S. states are already enjoying.
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