Governor-elect Ned Lamont strongly supports ending marijuana prohibition; lawmakers will begin considering new bills in January
Last week, Connecticut voters made it possible that marijuana prohibition will be brought to an end during the next legislative session. For the first time in history, Connecticut has voted elect a governor, Ned Lamont, who supports the legalization, regulation, and taxation of cannabis for use by adults.
“It’s an idea whose time has come, and I’m going to push it in the first year,” Lamont said while campaigning.
Of course, a governor doesn’t have the power to end marijuana prohibition by himself. In order to put a legalization bill on Gov. Lamont’s desk in 2019, our coalition members will all need to step up and help convince representatives and senators to vote in favor.
The Marijuana Policy Project and the Connecticut Coalition to Regulate Marijuana are committed to making the Nutmeg State one of the next states to legalize and regulate cannabis. Please help us get our 2019 campaign off to a great start by contributing to our efforts today!
Another election, and another historic night for marijuana reform.
Michigan has passed legalization! MPP played a central role in this campaign from start to finish. From coordinating the initiative drafting to overseeing the production of TV ads, MPP staffers worked alongside a excellent campaign team for two years to make Michigan the first state in the Midwest to adopt legalization. This is a huge win that will maintain our momentum in Washington, D.C. to pass a landmark federal reform bill through Congress in the near future.
Utah passed medical marijuana! MPP led the drafting process and played an important supporting role throughout the campaign. We are so proud of the Utah Patients Coalition team on this historic win that will end the heartless policy of criminalizing patients. If we can pass medical marijuana in Utah, then we can pass it in any state in the country…and we will.
In Missouri, voters approved medical marijuana, and they chose the best of the three possible initiatives. We congratulate our allies in the marijuana reform movement for this important win that will help patients access the medicine they need.
Sadly, North Dakota did not pass its legalization initiative. In such a conservative state, it was always an uphill battle. The proponents ran a strong campaign, but in a midterm year, the electorate was always going to be a challenge. North Dakota passed medical marijuana in 2016. It’s only a matter of time before the state adopts legalization, either via ballot initiative or legislative action.
As a movement, we won three out of four states. And for MPP, we’ve now played a leading role in seven of the 10 states that have legalized marijuana for adults (Colorado, Alaska, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Vermont, and Michigan).
We couldn’t do this work without the support of voters, allies, activists, and donors. We would like to express our heartfelt thanks to everyone who made these crucial victories last night possible.
In other great news, voters elected at least seven governors who support ending marijuana prohibition — Ned Lamont in Connecticut, JB Pritzker in Illinois, Michelle Lujan Grisham in New Mexico, Tim Walz in Minnesota, Gavin Newsom in California, Jared Polis in Colorado, and Gretchen Whitmer in Michigan. For more details, check out our elections page.
Democrat Ned Lamont strongly supports ending marijuana prohibition, while Republican Bob Stefanowski says the issue shouldn’t be a priority.
The Connecticut general election will take place next Tuesday, November 6. If you’re not sure how or where to vote, please visit the Secretary of State’s website for more information.
Voters who care about marijuana policy reform should know that there is a very clear contrast between the candidates for governor:
- Democratic candidate Ned Lamont strongly supports legalization, regulation, and taxation of marijuana. “It’s an idea whose time has come, and I’m going to push it in the first year,” he said.
- Republican candidate Bob Stefanowski does not currently support legalization. “Maybe at some point we should look at legalizing marijuana … but we’ve got so many fundamental problems in this state… Let’s fix the economy first,” he said.
Please share this information with your friends and family and remind them to vote on Tuesday, November 6!
The Connecticut primary election will take place next Tuesday, August 14. If you're a Connecticut resident and you’re not sure how or where to vote, please visit the secretary of state’s website for more information.
On the Democratic ticket, both candidates for governor and both candidates for lieutenant governor have said they support taxing and regulating marijuana. However, in the race for attorney general, there is a strong contrast between the Democratic candidates’ positions. At a recent debate, former U.S. Attorney Chris Mattei spoke strongly in favor of regulating marijuana, while the other two candidates, state Rep. William Tong and state Sen. Paul Doyle, “expressed reservations.” Additionally, Mattei has criticized Tong for his failure to support the medical cannabis bill when it passed in 2012.
None of the five Republican candidates for governor have spoken publicly in favor of ending marijuana prohibition.
CONGRESS — In March, MPP helped coordinate the congressional advocacy effort that succeeded in renewing the federal policy that prevents Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the Justice Department from interfering in state medical marijuana programs. This is an extremely important protection for patients and caregivers across the country.
VERMONT — Years of MPP-led advocacy work in the Green Mountain State yielded a major victory in January, when the legislature became the first ever to enact a marijuana legalization law legislatively (as opposed to a ballot initiative). We continue to work in Vermont with the goal of passing a law next year that will allow regulated and taxed sales (the current law only allows possession and home cultivation).
SOUTH CAROLINA — MPP, working with allied patients and loved ones, is maintaining an aggressive push for medical marijuana in the state legislature. Our bill was recently sent to the Senate floor, and we now have majority support in the House, leaving us well-positioned for passage in 2019.
MASSACHUSETTS — After winning the 2016 ballot initiative campaign and defending the law from political interference in 2017, we have remained engaged in the year-long implementation process in the Bay State. MPP has also been pushing back against local marijuana business bans. As a result of MPP’s work in Massachusetts, the licensing process for marijuana businesses just started, and the first adult-use marijuana stores in New England will open later this year.
CONNECTICUT — Since last year, MPP has led the advocacy effort to legalize and regulate marijuana in Connecticut. Last Thursday, for the first time ever, a committee approved a legalization bill, sending it to the full House.
MPP is also playing a leading role in two ballot initiative campaigns:
There is no shortage of work ahead in 2018 but, with your support, MPP can and will continue to win. Thank you for your commitment to the Marijuana Policy Project mission.
This afternoon, the Connecticut Joint Committee on Appropriations voted 27-24 to approve HR 5394, a placeholder bill that would legalize and regulate the sale of marijuana to adults. The details of the legislation will be fleshed out in the coming weeks.
When the legislative session began, most doubted that any marijuana-related bill would make it out of committee in an election year. Today’s vote shows just how far we have come on this issue.
Congratulations are due to our legislative champions, members of the committee, and the dedicated advocates who have never given up and continued to push for progress.
While we still have a long way to go before final passage, this vote shows that education and advocacy work. If you are a Connecticut resident, please ask your state legislators to support marijuana legalization this year.
MPP is excited to be moving into 2018 at a time when marijuana policy reform has unprecedented momentum. While there are sure to be challenges ahead, MPP is confident that we will make great strides this year.
You can find the strategic plan here.
In a great sign of things to come, one of our goals is already on the verge of success. On Thursday, the Vermont legislature passed a bill that would make possession and limited home cultivation legal in the Green Mountain State! The bill is expected to be signed into law in the coming weeks.
Connecticut representatives proposed an amendment to another bill that would legalize, regulate, and tax marijuana for adults’ use. This provided members a historic opportunity to debate the issue on the House floor, but the amendment did not actually receive a vote.
However, there is still a very real chance for ending marijuana prohibition in Connecticut this year.
Last month, Connecticut Democrats revealed a budget proposal that included the regulating and taxing of marijuana, demonstrating that legislative leaders in the majority party understand regulating marijuana like alcohol is a necessary part of a responsible budget solution.
The newly formed Connecticut Coalition to Regulate Marijuana (CCRM) held a press conference March 7 to rally support for legislation that would regulate and tax marijuana for adult use in Connecticut.
The event was held just prior to a committee hearing on H.B. 5314, sponsored by Rep. Melissa Ziobron (R-East Haddam), which directs the Department of Consumer Protection to establish a regulated system of marijuana cultivation and sales for adults 21 years of age and older. It also directs the Department of Revenue Services to create a tax structure that would generate revenue for the state and certain municipalities.
“I feel that the legalization of marijuana is inevitable and, as such, Connecticut should be at the forefront of the movement in order to set the standard for effective policy," Ziobron said in a CCRM news release.
Ziobron and the sponsors of three similar proposals — Senate President Pro Tempore Martin Looney (D-New Haven) and Reps. Juan Candelaria (D-New Haven) and Toni Walker (D-New Haven) — have agreed to work together to end marijuana prohibition in Connecticut and ensure whichever bill moves forward will create the best system possible for regulating and taxing marijuana.
“The vast majority of voters in Connecticut think it is time to end marijuana prohibition and start regulating it similarly to alcohol," CCRM Director Sam Tracy said in a statement to the media. "Marijuana is less harmful than alcohol to the consumer and to society. It should be produced and sold by tightly regulated, taxpaying businesses, not by criminals in the underground market.”
Nearly two-thirds of Connecticut voters (63%) support making possession of small amounts of marijuana legal for adults, according to a Quinnipiac University Poll conducted in March 2015.
If you live in Connecticut, contact your elected officials today and ask them to support the legalization and regulation of marijuana for adult use.
The Connecticut Legislature, which convened on January 4, is expected to consider legislation that would end marijuana prohibition for adult use and replace it with a system that would tax and regulate marijuana like alcohol.
Voters in nearby Massachusetts and Maine have voted to legalize marijuana and regulate it like alcohol. While polling shows 63% of Connecticut voters support this policy change, Connecticut lacks a ballot initiative process, so it’s crucial voters reach out to their elected officials. If you are a Connecticut resident, please tell your lawmakers to support sensible marijuana policy reform.