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Marijuana among items on lawmakers’ to-do list in Connecticut

Robert F. Bukaty

HARTFORD, Conn. — An ambitious to-do list awaits Connecticut lawmakers when they return Wednesday to the state Capitol for a roughly three-month election-year legislative session.

While changes to the second year of the two-year budget approved last year tops the list, lawmakers and Democratic Governor Ned Lamont have already indicated a range of other issues they hope to tackle, ranging from legalized, recreational marijuana to reducing the cost of prescription medication and health care.

Expect yet another debate over whether Connecticut should join a growing number of states in legalizing and taxing recreational cannabis for adults.

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Last year's concerted legalization effort, which included a package of bills, ultimately fizzled. Senate Democrats have since announced plans to resurrect the effort, arguing Connecticut needs to catch up to its neighbors.

“We know there are very large numbers of Connecticut residents already traveling regularly to Massachusetts to buy this product and bring it home with them. New York is considering it this year. Other states around us have,” said Senate President Martin Looney. “I don’t think we want to put our heads in the sand.”

Lamont also supports legalization but said he wants to work with the governors of New York and Rhode Island.

“Whatever we end up doing, this year or next year, whatever, we want to do on a regional basis with the same standards, similar regulations,” he said.

But Republican Representative Vincent Candelora questions whether such a bill will become law in Connecticut.

“We heard last year this is going to happen. Legalization is going to occur. And it didn't. Why? Because when people learn about the subject matter, it's a lot tougher to vote for it," he said.

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