The Connecticut Capitol Building during a pink-toned sunset.

Lisa Jacobs

Connecticut Legalization Bill Passes Finance Committee

A bill to legalize and regulate adult-use cannabis has passed the Connecticut Finance Committee and is expected to advance next to the full House floor for consideration.

Full story after the jump.

Connecticut lawmakers have amended the state’s adult-use cannabis proposal to include an undisclosed amount of industry-derived revenue be used for mental health and addiction services, according to a CT News Junkie report. The amendment was proposed by Democratic state Sen. Sean Scanlon who said he has “serious reservations about legalization from a public health perspective.

Under the previous version of the bill approved by the General Law Committee in March, all revenues from the recreational cannabis industry would have been sent to cities and communities most impacted by the drug war.

“I wholeheartedly agree that we should be building up communities disproportionately impacted by decades of misguided criminal justice policy but I also have serious reservations about legalization from a public health perspective and I offered this amendment to ensure that, should we legalize, a portion of the revenue will now go towards mental health and substance use disorder treatment.” – Scanlon, during remarks introducing the amendment, via CT News Junkie

The measure includes a 6.35 percent tax on gross receipts of retail sales, transfer taxes of $35-per-ounce of flower and $13.50-per-ounce of trim on growers, and a 3 percent local sales tax. Previously, Connecticut lawmakers had eyed an overall tax rate of 20 percent.

Last month, Democratic House Speaker Joe Aresimowicz came out in opposition of earmarking any of the new tax funds, because of ever-evolving budget needs. Under the measure, local tax funds would go back to where the sales occurred.

The amendment was approved by the Finance Committee 29-21.

Democratic Gov. Ned Lamont is supportive of legalization but did not include tax revenues from legal sales in his 2020 budget proposal. The bill is expected to move next to the floor for full consideration.

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