Supporters of legalizing pot in Connecticut argued Tuesday that the time has come to control and tax marijuana in the same way alcohol is regulated, warning that pot prohibition has failed.
Democratic and Republican lawmakers said at a morning news conference that legalization of recreational cannabis would end the illegal market in pot, halt the unnecessary arrest of thousands of people for possession, bring in tens of millions of dollars in new tax revenue and create new jobs.
But opponents of legalization staged their own competing news conference in advance of the major legislative hearing today on pro-pot bills.
Critics of those proposals warned that legalization could lead to expanded use of drugs among young people, pose new problems with providing drug addiction treatment, and create major law enforcement issues.
Advocates of ending Connecticut ban on recreational pot rejected those arguments. Connecticut has already legalized medical marijuana and decriminalized possession of small amounts of cannabis.
“Marijuana is in the state of Connecticut,” said Rep. Juan Candelaria, D-New Haven, “That is a fact… We need to start regulating it.” We need to start regulating it.” He said failure to do so amounts to subsidizing “the drug lords” that are bringing illegal pot into this state. [Read more at Hartford Courant]