The Democratic chairs of three Connecticut legislative committees each proposed legislation on Thursday to legalize recreational marijuana. The lawmakers want to create incentives for communities affected by the illegal marijuana trade.
Representative Michael D’Agostino of Hamden, chair of the General Law Committee, says recreational marijuana can’t be legalized without trying to remedy previous wrongs.
“There’s been a negative impact on communities of color. And we want to be able to address that in this bill with our equity applicant process. And make sure that this industry is open to people who have been particularly impacted by something that we are now making legal.”
Representative Steve Stafstrom of Bridgeport, who chairs the Judiciary Committee, wants to allow criminal convictions for marijuana possession to be erased.
“That application process would involve presenting a police report or signed affidavit under oath to a judge and asking for erasure of that record.”
Representative Jason Rojas of Manchester, co-chair of the finance committee, is considering a tax incentive for “communities that host cultivation facilities or other cannabis-related facilities to levy their own sales tax at the local level.”
The committees have scheduled public hearings on their proposals for next Friday.
Meanwhile, Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone wants to opt out of recreational marijuana sales if New York State approves legalization.
Bellone plans to introduce a one-year moratorium on retail pot sales in Suffolk.
County spokesperson Jason Elan says Bellone has organized a working group to evaluate how marijuana would affect Suffolk.
“The issues in Suffolk County are not the same as other municipalities, across the state, in New York City. So we need to really take some time to digest this, to assess how this would affect job creation out here, the public health and safety, how this would affect veterans — Suffolk county has the largest veterans population in the state of New York — and really kind of understand this a little bit more.”
Nassau County Executive Laura Curran also wants to go this route.
Governor Cuomo may miss the deadline to include legalization in the state budget in April.