Connecticut Marijuana Hearing Shows Governor’s Legalization Bill Likely To Be Amended After Equity Pushback

MJ moment

Connecticut lawmakers took a full day’s worth of public testimony on Friday about Gov. Ned Lamont’s (D) plan to legalize and regulate marijuana for adults. The legislation has drawn harsh criticism from social equity advocates since its unveiling earlier this month as part of the governor’s budget, and the bill’s supporters said at Friday’s hearing that they’re open to making changes to address those concerns. “This is not a final bill,” Lamont’s chief of staff, Paul Mounds, told equity advocates during his testimony to the legislature’s Judiciary Committee. “We want to sit at the table. We want you at the table.” Before Friday’s official legislative hearing, a group of reform advocates critical of the governor’s proposal held a press conference to bring attention to what they say are shortcomings of the bill’s licensing, equity and criminal justice provisions. Among them, they argue the governor’s plan, SB 888, would give an overwhelming advantage to businesses in the state’s existing medical marijuana system by allowing them early control of the legal adult-use industry. That would likely make it hard for smaller applicants or Black and brown people trying to enter the new market as business owners rather than as employees. One speaker at the press conference, Rep. Anne Hughes (D), said she would be willing to vote against the governor’s bill if it doesn’t end up including a stronger emphasis on equity. “If we put equity applicants at the back of the line,” Hughes said, “I don’t think we can ever repair that. I don’t think we can catch up.” Critics of the governor’s plan have drawn attention to a separate legalization bill, HB 6377, which includes additional equity measures, such as early registration for equity license applicants and funding for low-interest business loans. Supporters of the governor’s bill struck a conciliatory…

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Source : Connecticut Marijuana Hearing Shows Governor’s Legalization Bill Likely To Be Amended After Equity Pushback

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