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February 21, 2021 / 2021 Power 50

2021 Power 50: 37. DeVaughn Ward

Last year the Marijuana Policy Project — the nation’s largest pro-marijuana policy organization — hired DeVaugn Ward to serve as its senior legislative counsel in Connecticut.

DeVaughn Ward

The move came as the prospect of legalizing the use and sale of marijuana for recreational purposes appeared to be gaining momentum in the state's legislature, as neighboring states made similar moves. The COVID-19 pandemic severely disrupted those efforts in 2020, but 2021 could be a different story, with House Speaker Matt Ritter saying recently that there is a 50-50 chance that legalization passes this year.

Gov. Ned Lamont’s recent budget proposal calls for recreational pot to be for sale starting in 2022.

Ward, a 36-year-old attorney, previously served as the city of Hartford's director of intergovernmental affairs, where he worked as the city's top lobbyist at the state Capitol and the mayor's liaison to city council.

In January, Ward told HBJ he will be fighting this session to push a recreational pot legalization bill over the finish line. He’s involved in talks over making sure there is social equity in any legalization proposal, including erasing criminal records and making sure minorities have opportunities in the potentially new industry.

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