Connecticut Senate Leader To File Marijuana Legalization Bill For 2017

Governor Dannel Malloy may be on the fence when it comes to marijuana legalization, but one of the state’s most prominent lawmakers will push for Connecticut to join two nearby New England states in taxing and regulating sales of cannabis to adults.

Senate President Pro Tem Martin M. Looney (D-New Haven) pre-filed legislation for the upcoming 2017 legislative session to legalize, tax and regulate marijuana.

Senate President Pro Tem Martin M. Looney (D-New Haven)

The bill was one of ten bills Looney pre-filed just before undergoing surgery Tuesday.

“The bills Sen. Looney filed represent his legislative priorities,” Looney’s spokesman, Adam Joseph, said Wednesday.

The bill would legalize the possession, use and sale of marijuana, taxing retail sales “in the same manner as the state of Colorado.”

Specifics of the bill have not been released, which is often the case with pre-filed bills that are typically concepts, not fully formed legislation.   More information about the bill should come in January, when the new legislative session begins and the measure is formally introduced.

Polling has shown that Connecticut voters support marijuana legalization, with 63 percent of voters supporting the idea in a March 2015 poll.

Connecticut became the 17th medical marijuana state in 2012, one year after lawmakers decriminalized possession with the support of Gov. Dannel Malloy, who said that was as far as the state should go.

“We decriminalized small amounts, but we didn’t legalize. I think that’s about as far as we go,” Malloy said told CNN in 2014, adding that it “doesn’t make sense” to legalize marijuana for increased tax revenue.

But following the November elections, which saw two New England states, Maine and Massachusetts, legalize marijuana, Malloy hinted that he may be prepared to change his tune.

“We might have to reexamine our legal position, our position of enforcement, based on what some surrounding states are doing,” Malloy told the Yale Daily News days after the election.

Connecticut’s 2017 regular legislative session begins on January 4, and ends in early June.

Marijuana legalization bills have already been pre-filed in several additional states, including New Hampshire.

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