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Lawmakers consider legalizing recreational marijuana use

Connecticut lawmakers have heard public feedback on the first of several bills filed this session that would legalize the sale of recreational marijuana.  The Public Health Committee discussed legislation that would require the Department of Consumer Protection to create and administer a program that allows people 21 years and older to legally purchase and cultivate marijuana.  The bill also requires the Department of Revenue Services to create and administer a system for taxing the drug.


Danbury Senator Mike McLachlan submitted written testimony opposing this legislation saying it directly violates Federal Law.  Former United States Attorney for Connecticut David Fein told him that unless it is a federally authorized research program, growing, distributing and possessing marijuana is a direct violation of federal law.


McLachlan also said the bill would pit state and federal law enforcement officers and agencies against one another.  He also noted that President Trump does not support the use of recreational marijuana use and has signaled law enforcement to strictly follow federal law regarding marijuana usage.


Supporters of the proposal cited the impacts in Colorado, including a surge in new jobs to support the industry which brings in taxes and fees annually.  Some say Colorado has been able invest in greater efforts for educating youth and boosting law enforcement. 


A 2015 poll by Quinnipiac found that 63-percent of Connecticut voters support legalization of marijuana for adult use.  Eight states and Washington, D.C. have already legalized marijuana for recreational use.  Vermont and Rhode Island are also considering legalizing recreational use of marijuana.


Similar legalization bills proposed by mostly Democrats are awaiting action in other committees.

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