Now that Connecticut has elected a pro-legalization governor, it’s clear that ending marijuana prohibition will be on the legislature’s agenda for 2019. Governor-elect Ned Lamont will be inaugurated tomorrow, January 9, and the new legislature will formally begin its work.
After years of frustration for advocates, the wind in Hartford finally appears to be blowing in a great direction. Last week, House Speaker Joe Aresimowicz joined the growing chorus of support for legalization and regulation. However, we know that the prohibitionists won’t go down without a fight. Please donate to support our work and help Connecticut make history in 2019!
After you email your state legislators and make a contribution to our campaign, please share this message with your family and friends and encourage them to join the Connecticut Coalition to Regulate Marijuana!
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!
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.
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.
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 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.
Earlier this month, Gov. Dannel Malloy signed HB 5450, which will make changes to Connecticut’s medical marijuana program including to allow certain patients who are under 18 to access medical cannabis. The bill previously passed the House 129 to 3 and the Senate 23 to 1.
To participate in Connecticut's medical marijuana program, minors will have to have been diagnosed with terminal illness, an irreversible spinal cord injury, cerebral palsy, cystic fibrosis, or severe or intractable epilepsy. In addition, they must have a written certification from two doctors — a primary care provider and a specialist. Finally, a parent or guardian must also submit a written statement of consent and attest that they will serve as the minor patient’s primary caregiver.
Connecticut first enacted medical marijuana legislation in 2012, but the law did not allow access for minor patients, many of whom would benefit greatly from access to this safe and effective treatment. Of the 24 states that have effective medical marijuana programs, Connecticut is the last state to exclude younger patients.
The new law will also extend legal protections to nurses who administer medical marijuana to patients in hospitals, and creates a research program. It goes into effect on October 1.
On June 1, 2012, Connecticut enacted a medical marijuana program that allows seriously ill patients access to medical marijuana. However, the law does not allow access for minor patients, many of whom would benefit greatly from access to this safe and effective treatment. Of the 24 states that have effective medical marijuana programs, Connecticut is the only state that does not allow access for younger patients.
A bill currently being considered, HB 5450, would allow minors to be qualifying patients. It would also allow dispensaries to distribute marijuana to hospices and other inpatient facilities and would allow nurses to administer marijuana in licensed health care facilities.
If you are a Connecticut resident, please urge the senate to swiftly pass legislation to help Connecticut’s seriously ill children.
Last week, 10 Connecticut state representatives introduced HB 5236, legislation that would legalize the sale and use of marijuana for adults. While it is unlikely HB 5236 will pass during this year’s short session, garnering co-sponsors and holding a hearing this year will help build the foundation for passage down the road.
If you are a Connecticut resident and support ending marijuana prohibition in your state, please contact your representative and ask him or her to support HB 5236.
In addition to the four states and Washington D.C. that have already legalized adult use, several of Connecticut’s neighbor states are currently considering legalization including Massachusetts, Vermont, and Rhode Island.
Legalizing marijuana for adults makes the illicit marijuana trade obsolete and would create much-needed revenue to the state during a time of financial hardship. In 2015, Colorado’s system of marijuana regulation brought in over $135 million in revenue for the state.