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Gov. Ned Lamont threatens to veto Connecticut marijuana legalization bill if equity matter is not addressed; measure passed Senate 19-12

Gov. Ned Lamont is threatening to veto a bill legalizing and taxing marijuana because it does not go far enough in addressing the historical trauma of the war on drugs and ensuring equity in the state’s budding recreational marijuana industry.

The measure, which was approved by the Connecticut Senate Tuesday night by a vote of 19 to 12, “does not meet the goals laid out during negotiations when it comes to equity and ensuring the wrongs of the past are righted,’’ said Paul Mounds, Lamont’s chief of staff. “To the contrary, this proposal opens the floodgates for tens of thousands of previously ineligible applicants to enter the adult-use cannabis industry.”

Lamont’s announcement throws the fate of the sweeping, 300-page marijuana legalization bill into question. The bill is scheduled to be voted on in the House of Representatives Wednesday.

Initially, the measure’s carefully crafted equity provision was designed to give those from underserved communities preference for licenses to grow and market marijuana. The legislation used census tracks and other criteria to determine who would qualify.

But some members of the House wanted to ensure the equity provision was expanded to include people with prior marijuana convictions and on Tuesday lawmakers added an amendment reflecting that. Advocates said that was done to ensure that people hurt by the criminalization of cannabis would have an advantage to getting into the nascent marijuana industry. [Read More @ The Hartford Courant]

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