HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Should Connecticut follow Colorado’s lead and legalize marijuana for recreational purposes? Some form of that idea is gaining traction in many state legislatures around the country, including Hartford.
There are now two bills before the Connecticut General Assembly aimed at legalizing marijuana for recreational use.
“I think these laws are just hypocritical, and it’s destroyed generations of young people in the inner cities,” said Rep. Edwin Vargas, D-Hartford.
The Governor’s big criminal justice plan would decriminalize the possession of most drugs, changing it from a felony to a misdemeanor, but several members of the legislature think the state should go much further where marijuana is concerned.
“I’d like to see Connecticut align itself with Colorado and just lift all statutes that criminalize the use of marijuana,” said Vargas.
Another state lawmaker says since the state already legalized the distribution and sale of marijuana for medical purposes, this should be the next logical step.
“We already have the mechanism in place,” said Rep. Juan Candelaria, D-New Haven. “We do it for medicinal purposes. We have the mechanism. Why not continue with recreational?”
Candelaria’s idea would impose a hefty 15-percent tax on marijuana, which he says could be a big help with the state’s current red ink problems.
“You know that we’re facing a fiscal crisis right now, and I think this is a venue to generate enough revenue to close the budget deficit that we’re facing,” said Candelaria.
Both Representatives Vargas and Candelaria also say that this would put a big dent in the marijuana street drug trade. The idea is expected to be on the ballot in Massachusetts and Maine later this year.