Multiple States Move to Relax Marijuana Laws

Late last week, multiple governors took steps to relax their states’ marijuana laws and to affirm their personal positions on the matter.

According to an article published on June 11 by Marijuana Moment’s Kyle Jaeger, Gov. Ned Lamont of Connecticut brought a 300 page cannabis bill to lawmakers where it was passed by the state Senate before being delayed by the state House and re scheduled for review tomorrow. Lamont expressed his own eagerness to see the bill passed, stating that “I have a strong point of view to do whatever it takes to get this over the finish line” and that he will be very disappointed in the event that this bill is not passed successfully.

The article said the bid may face some adversity, as the next hearing is predicted to be lengthy and hotly debated, with many House Republicans opposing the bill. If this bill succeeds, it would legalize personal possession and use of cannabis by adults 21 and older and eventually introduce a regulated commercial cannabis market in Connecticut, licensing growers, retailers, manufacturers and delivery services.

One feature of this bill is that half of the licenses for any marijuana businesses would have to be granted to social equity applicants. This includes applicants who are from areas most affected by the War on Drugs in an effort to reinvest in those communities. In the same vein, the bill promises to expunge all cannabis convictions for under four ounces by 2023 and other sales or paraphernalia related convictions by 2022. Tax revenue would also go towards community reinvestment.

If the bill is not passed this week, Marijuana Moment said Lamont is still confident that it will be passed at some point and in some way, whether it be through legislation or by the vote of the people. Based on a survey published by Sacred Heart University, 64 percent of state residents would vote yes on the bill.

In similar news from Jaeger, governors from both Louisiana and Texas have recently shown interest and intent on signing a medical marijuana legalization bill into effect. Governor Greg Abbott of Texas stated on Twitter that that the potential benefit for veterans would be a motivator for him to sign a bill into a law whenever it is presented to him. Louisiana Governor John Edwards voiced similar sentiments, saying that he would be open to signing a bill that reduced the penalty for possessing small amounts of marijuana. While these may be more minor changes, marijuana advocates are excited to see progress by states that in the past have been hesitant to go forward with widespread marijuana reform.