Although liberating Connecticut from marijuana prohibition might look like a long shot on the watch of Governor Dannel Malloy, one of the state’s most influential legislative forces still fully intends to peruse the issue of statewide marijuana legalization in the 2017 session.
Democratic Senate President Pro Tempore Martin Looney recently introduced a piece of legislation aimed at allowing adults 21 and over to purchase marijuana in the same way they do with beer. The goal of the measure is to bring the state up to speed with other New England jurisdictions – Massachusetts and Maine – that successfully passed marijuana ballot initiatives the November election.
“There seems to be a national trend moving in that direction,” Looney told the Wall Street Journal.
There is a distinct possibility the proposal could be well received this year in both chambers of the legislative brass. However, even a miracle such as a completely agreeable legislature does not guarantee it will find its way in the book of law. That’s because Governor Malloy just cannot seem to wrap his head around the progressive concept of selling weed legally as opposed to perpetuating its distribution on the black market.
It wasn’t long ago that Malloy called the legalization of marijuana a “mistake” and pledged watch how Maine and Massachusetts handle the situation before taking similar action. He predicts states that have legalized the leaf will spend more trying to recoup the cost of the public health crisis that is sure to arise than could ever be made from legal sales.
“The proposal that passed on the ballot in Massachusetts was written by the people who want to grow and sell marijuana,” he said. “It’s an entirely different tax package, and quite frankly, will not make the kind of money available to Massachusetts that will be made available in Colorado. … I suspect that the monies that will be generated in Massachusetts will not pay for the programs necessary to treat the people who will become problematic.”
Yet, Malloy’s opinion on this issue is a bit schizophrenic. Right after the November election, he told reporters that a reexamination of his personal beliefs might be necessary.
“I have never been an advocate of that,” Malloy said. “On the other hand, of course, when multiple states move in a direction you have to re-examine your own personal thoughts on the issue. I’m just like anybody else.”
Although Senator Looney understands that it could be an uphill battle pulling Connecticut out of prohibitionary times, he still believes the issue could break in the coming months.
“I’m hopeful that we might get him to change his mind, especially given the fact that it could be a significant revenue source,” Looney said.
As it stands, Connecticut is suffering from a $1.5 deficit. Some lawmakers, mostly Democrats, believe legal marijuana could be a way to remedy this problem.
Yet, Republican Senate president pro tempore Len Fesano recently said that his side of the fence does not have any interest in selling “our soul to fill our coffers.”
Connecticut decriminalized marijuana possession in 2011 and then legalized medical marijuana a year later. Governor Malloy has said that is as far as the state is going with respect to legal marijuana.
Guess we’ll have to wait and see.