New Connecticut Marijuana Legalization Bill Released, With Votes Expected This Week

MJ moment

Connecticut legislative leaders introduced a sweeping new marijuana legalization bill late on Saturday, a day after announcing they’d reached a deal with the governor. A vote on the 297-page measure is expected within days, ahead of a mid-week legislative deadline. The new proposal includes significant concessions to social equity advocates, who’ve criticized the legalization plan introduced by Gov. Ned Lamont (D) earlier this year as well as details of floated proposals that emerged during the negotiations. The changes are likely to curry favor among at least some progressive Democrats in the legislature, who previously signaled they might oppose the policy change. House Majority Leader Jason Rojas (D) and Speaker Matt Ritter (D) have been negotiating with Lamont’s office for weeks on the compromise bill. They finally said on Friday morning that they had secured a “pencils down” agreement, and on Saturday promised the bill’s language would be public by the end of the day. It posted to the state’s legislative website late in the evening as Senate Bill 1118, sponsored by Ritter and Senate President Martin Looney (D). Lawmakers are working against the clock to pass the reform by the end-of-session deadline on June 9, with other significant pieces of legislation—most notably the state budget—still in need of approval by then. Leaders said at a press briefing Saturday they’re hoping to address those matters early in the week and take up the cannabis bill on the Senate floor before Wednesday to avoid giving opponents the opportunity to run out the clock. “I understand that Republicans are opposed to the bill,” Rojas said. “I’m hoping that they won’t approach it in the way they’ve approached some other bills that they’re really opposed to and feel the need to filibuster something.” “You could look at maybe Tuesday,” added Ritter when asked about…

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