Gov. Lamont makes pitch for legalizing marijuana in Connecticut
Gov. Ned Lamont made his strongest sales pitch yet on Wednesday to legalize marijuana in Connecticut.
It came at a roundtable discussion two days before a major public hearing on the governor’s plan.
Recreational pot is now legal in Massachusetts, Vermont and New Jersey - and New York could pass it in weeks.
"Prohibition doesn't work," Lamont says.
Under Lamont's plan, legal marijuana sales would begin next summer in 2022, although towns could opt out.
As for possession, if you're at least 21 years old, you could have 1.5 ounces.
"This is like the worst nightmare for organized crime drug dealers because all of this historically has existed in the black market," says Mike Lawlor, of the University of New Haven.
Some criminal records for pot possession would be automatically wiped clean. But at the state Capitol, the odds are still iffy.
Many Republicans say Lamont's plan goes too far. Some Democrats say it doesn't go far enough.
"We've got a couple of months to figure out all those details and try to get to a policy proposal that reflects the priorities of a lot of people within the caucus, which is a complicated issue. But I think we can get there," says state Rep. Jason Rojas, the Connecticut House Majority leader.
But with Lamont putting his name on the effort, Middletown's mayor think 2021 is the year.
"It has been no one's number one priority. No individual has been out front on it. It's been a lot of people's sort of third, fourth, or fifth priority, maybe," says Mayor Ben Florshelm.
"This has been a long time coming. We've been talking about this for ages," says Lamont.
There are still a lot of questions about how marijuana would be regulated and who would get licenses.
Connecticut lawmakers will be holding a public hearing Friday. To testify, click here.
To submit written testimony, click here.