A key committee in the Connecticut General Assembly approved a bill to legalize marijuana on March 25, 2019.

The General Law Committee, which is one of two panels that heard testimony about legalization legislation a week earlier, voted 10 to 8 to advance the bill.

Beyond legalizing cannabis for adult use, the legislation also includes a number of social equity provisions aimed at encouraging participation in the legal industry by individuals from communities that have been disproportionately impacted by the drug war. A governor-appointed commission would be charged with giving such individuals advance time to apply for a marijuana business license and promote diversity in hiring.

“At the end of the day, if we’re moving, it’s not about revenue. It’s about equity,” Democratic Rep. Juan Candelaria said at the meeting. “It’s about ensuring that these communities that have been impacted, that we say we’re not going to stay idle anymore.”

The commission would also be required to study the potential effects of allowing cannabis microbusinesses and a home cultivation option, which are not currently included in the bill. Delivery would be permitted, however.

While advocates generally support the bill, there are some outstanding concerns about the lack of a home-grow option. The lack of specific licenses for delivery services and on-site consumption facilities is another sticking point.

“Marijuana prohibition was borne of misinformation and racism and it continues to be enforced unequally to this day,” Karen O’Keefe, director of state policies at the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), said at a hearing earlier in March 2019.

Marijuana prohibition was borne of misinformation and racism and it continues to be enforced unequally to this day. Click To Tweet

It’s not yet clear whether the legislature will ultimately pass this proposal or a separate bill in the Senate, but if either does end up on the desk of Democratic Gov. Ned Lamont, he’s expected to sign. The governor called legalization one of his “priorities” in 2018 and also discussed the issue during a budget speech in February 2019.

The General Assembly’s Judiciary Committee is expected to vote on legalization legislation on March 28, 2019.

A separate bill to revise the state’s medical cannabis program by adding opioid use disorder to the list of qualifying conditions and eliminating a registration certification fee for patients and caregivers was also approved by the General Law Committee on March 25. 

This article has been republished from Marijuana Moment under a content syndication agreement. Read the original article here.

Featured image: The Connecticut General Assembly’s General Law Committee on March 25, 2019, passed a bill that would legalize marijuana in the state. (Photo by Adavyd via Wikimedia Commons.)

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