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February 14, 2018

House lawmakers introduce marijuana bills

Flickr Creative Commons | Dank Depot

Time will tell if Connecticut’s legislature will change its mind on legalizing marijuana.

On Wednesday, 22 lawmakers introduced a bill  that would authorize the retail sale and taxation of marijuana and fund substance abuse and education programs.

Concurrently, Rep. James Albis (D-East Haven), the House deputy majority leader, filed a second bill  also calling for legalization and taxation.

Both bills were referred to the Joint Committee on General Law.

Similar legislation last year failed to reach a vote in either chamber. Advocates for legalization are hoping the economic impact of legalization could spur lawmakers this session.

Gov. Dannel Malloy has opposed legalization, but he included it as an “alternative” revenue-raising measure in his recent budget proposal, stressing he was not calling for it in the plan.

Connecticut legalized medical marijuana in 2012, with sales beginning two years later.

There’s been plenty of activity in New England since then, with Massachusetts and Vermont legalizing recreational use.

Meanwhile, the Trump administration last month created uncertainty and concern in states with marijuana programs.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions said he would nix an Obama-era policy that discourages federal law enforcement from bringing criminal charges for marijuana cultivation and sale in states that have legalized it.

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