The Connecticut Legislature’s General Law Committee voted across party lines, 10-8, in favor of a cannabis legalization bill that would create a regulated adult-use market and provide equity opportunities for citizens who were most negatively affected by the War on Drugs, CT News Junkie reports.
The social equity provisions included in the legislation were hotly debated during the committee meeting; Democratic Sen. Dough McCroy called the nation’s drug policy “probably the last” policy left over from the Jim Crow era. The representative from Hartford indicated he would not support any legalization bill that is anything less than the gold standard for social equity.
The legislation defines social equity as “individuals or communities disproportionately impacted by high rates of arrest and conviction, as well as individuals who can demonstrate, via affidavit and other documentation as the commission may require … requisite experience with cannabis cultivation, distribution or the sale or manufacture of cannabis products.”
Other Democrats on the committee voiced support for the social equity provisions and a regulated market, while most Republicans on the committee stood opposed due to public health concerns.
The committee also advanced legislation to add opioid use disorder to the state’s medical cannabis qualifying conditions list – which the state’s Board of Physicians voted against last year – and eliminate the $25 program registration fee.
Both bills need to be approved by both legislative bodies before being sent to the governor.