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Is Legalized Recreational Marijuana Use on Connecticut's Horizon?

Brett Levin
Creative Commons
Voters in Massachusetts approved the recreational use of marijuana in that state.

Voters in Massachusetts approved the recreational use of marijuana starting in 2018. It's a measure some Connecticut legislators have pushed for in the past without success. But now proponents think the tide might be changing in Connecticut. 

The approval of recreational pot in neighboring Massachusetts is already sparking conversation to the south. New Haven Rep. Juan Candelaria, who’s introduced legislation in the past, said the biggest attraction to legalization is tax revenue.

"We cannot move forward to the new legislative session talking about increasing taxes to the working families," he said. "We cannot cut our self out of the deficit. We need to find new forms of revenue. We have a mechanism in place and that’s recreational marijuana."

Connecticut has already decriminalized small amounts of marijuana and legalized its medical use, but opponents say reports on other addiction based substances like alcohol and tobacco already prove the costs will outweigh any tax benefit.

John Daviau is Executive Director of theConnecticut Association of Prevention Professionals and he’s most concerned with the effect marijuana use has on kids and the message legalization sends.

"A study that just came out in the Journal of Addiction shows that greater marijuana use predicted delinquency, poor academic achievement, and poor mental health outcomes," said Daviau.

Legislation could be a long-shot in Connecticut. Governor Dannel Malloy has never been an advocate of legalizing recreational use. But that may change in the future. He was asked this week if it might be time to reconsider.

"When multiple states move in any direction you have to reexamine your own personal thoughts on the issue," said Malloy.

Voters in Maine, California, and Nevada also voted to legalize the recreational use of marijuana in their states.

Lori Connecticut Public's Morning Edition host.

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