Legalization supporters in Connecticut aren’t giving up all hope just yet. While lawmakers still refuse to consider ending prohibition in the state, advocates continue their efforts. Two representatives held a press conference last week to voice their support of legal recreational marijuana for adult use.
Representatives Robyn Porter and Josh Elliot headed the press conference, according to Yale Daily News. The representatives believe that the majority of adults in Connecticut want marijuana legalized. In June, a House bill was debated and tabled regarding legalization.
Regardless of how attractive the potential $100-million in tax revenue may be for helping the state’s budget, the Governor and several lawmakers aren’t ready to take that step yet. Some of the Connecticut Republican caucus opposes legalization, citing public safety issues such as increased exposure to children.
Representative Porter believes, for her personally, that recreational marijuana is a social justice issue. Her statements of disproportionate arrests in the African American community for marijuana possession continue to affect the community.
Porter said, “This has always been an issue that has impacted communities of color disproportionately and has sent many black and brown people to jail for what I feel are nonviolent offenses. You have people serving time for marijuana charges. With the three-strikes law, you have some people in jail with life sentences, spending more time in jail than people who have done very heinous crimes.”
Representative Elliot agrees with Porter’s statement.
Elliot said, via statement, that, “The state has been using prisons as a way to lock up low-level offenders even though it is more expensive and less humane to do so. By regulating recreational marijuana like alcohol, we can educate society on its effects and address some of Connecticut’s inequality concerns.”
Representative Holly Cheeseman opposes legalization. Her argument is increased exposure to children. She referred to studies saying there are links to “higher risk of brain damage with early exposure to marijuana”.
Cheeseman said, “If you are sitting at home and you see your parents get high, it affects you.”
In Connecticut, legalization efforts don’t seem to be a partisan issue. There is support on all political sides for legalization. Representative Melissa Ziobron is a supporter and says that Connecticut might become the first state to legalize marijuana through the legislative process.
While Porter says the legalization bill doesn’t have the necessary support to pass right now, she has confidence that it will happen in the future.
Porter said, “[Legalizing marijuana] is just inevitable as far as I’m concerned. What concerns me is the timing, and that Connecticut might miss this tremendous opportunity, delaying and procrastinating on what is inevitable.”