Senate sends recreational marijuana bill to Lamont for signature

The state Senate has passed legislation to legalize recreational marijuana in Connecticut and is sending the bill to Gov. Ned Lamont to sign.
The final vote came just before noon Thursday following a long road to legalize marijuana in the state.
Just two days ago, the bill was on life support. The Connecticut House of Representatives approved the original version of the recreational marijuana bill Wednesday 76 to 62.
State Sen. Gary Winfield has spent years working on the legalization of marijuana in the state. Just days earlier, Lamont threatened to veto it over last-minute changes.
"But you know, in this building, as I always tell people, nothing is dead until it's dead," said Winfield when asked about the bill almost not making the cut.
Possession is expected to be legal on July 1.
Connecticut now joins 18 other states and Washington, D.C. in approving recreational marijuana. Many of them have seen the retail market overtaken by big corporations, so to avoid that, retail licenses will be steered toward "social equity" applicants in areas hit hard by the drug war.
Residents will be able to grow their own marijuana starting in 2023.
"They got it right. It's got a real emphasis upon equity and a real emphasis upon public health. Whatever we do, we do it safely," says Lamont.
Republicans remain opposed, worried about the hidden costs of marijuana.
"I hope and pray that I'm wrong. I sincerely hope and pray that five years and 10 years from now, that I am wrong," says state Sen. Tony Hwang.
Recreational marijuana officially becomes the law next week when Lamont signs it.
The passage of the recreational marijuana bill will be the focus of this weekend's Power & Politics.