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Pursuing Pot in Connecticut

Legalization could bring hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenue and tens of thousands of new jobs to the state.

Brianna Martinez

Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont (D) stressed his support for legalization during his State of the State address in early January. Lamont has consistently stumped for pot as governor of Connecticut, and presented his case for Cannabis to residents in last year’s State of the State and in a 2019 budget address. 

In this year’s speech, Lamont pledged to work with the General Assembly on an adult-use plan for 2021. However, pro-legalization lawmakers have repeatedly failed to push a tax and regulate bill through the legislature, including a measure Democrats introduced on the governor’s behalf last year.

Still, Lamont is convinced that the time is right for legal Cannabis in Connecticut, citing tax revenue and new jobs the industry could create as essential for the cash strapped state.

A recent report by the Connecticut Center for Economic Analysis estimates that retail marijuana could bring in up to $223 million in tax revenue by the fifth year of the program and create more than 17,000 jobs in that timeframe.

The pressure is on for Connecticut to implement a tax and regulate plan and begin collecting revenue, as nearby Massachusetts and New Jersey have already legalized, and New York and Rhode Island are pushing to advance adult-use legislation in 2021.

“I am working with our neighboring states … as well as the legislature on legalization of marijuana,” Gov. Lamont said in his State of the State Address. “Legalized marijuana [is] happening all around us. Let’s not surrender these opportunities to out-of-state markets or, even worse, underground markets.”

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