CT lawmakers hold off voting on recreational marijuana bill, will head to special session
Connecticut lawmakers announced Wednesday that they will not be voting on the recreational marijuana bill and instead will hold a special legislative session.
Republicans threatened to filibuster the cannabis bill and run the clock down to the midnight deadline. House GOP Leader Vin Candelora says the plan is rushed and needs more time.
"There are Republicans that support legalization, so it's not a partisan issue. But the bill has a lot problems in its drafting. It's unprecedented, some of the fees that are put in there," he says.
The bill legalizes cannabis for anyone 21 years old and over on July 1. Retail sales would start next May.
Residents would also be able to start growing their own plants in 2023.
Lawmakers did give final approval to a new state budget with no new taxes. In fact, there is a modest tax cut for working-class families.
But the budget relies heavily on one-time relief from Washington. Progressive Democrats pushed for higher taxes on the wealthy, but Gov. Ned Lamont said that was a non-starter.
"Everybody was able to pretty much get what they hoped to get in the appropriations budget," says Senate President Martin Looney.
Truckers, though, will be paying more. Lawmakers approved a new mileage fee to pay for fixes to Connecticut's congested roads and crumbling bridges.
"Well, the majority voted for that. I mean, our caucus is against that," says Senate Minority Leader Kevin Kelly.
Lamont pushed for the fee after his first plan -- for tolls -- faced major public backlash.
"When that orange comes up from Florida - I've said that before - they pay that fee in Florida. They pay it in Georgia. We pay it; we pay it the whole way up and then they come to the 'charity state,' Connecticut, where they get to drive through for free," he says.
Lawmakers will be back to vote on the recreational marijuana bill along with others in the next two weeks.